Protecting the property is a responsible job for an owner. However, vandalism is one of the criminal offenses against the property, which may appear due to envy or a potential threat to the owner. If you ever be victimized by vandalism you may end up asking one basic question how to prove vandalism in court?
Crime against the property will be a nightmare for you. But this article has everything you need to know and understand. How to prove vandalism in court can lead us to several other lawsuits and legal processes. Continue reading to explore.
What is vandalism?
Before leaning towards the major factors of how to prove vandalism in court, let’s figure out the crime first.
Vandalism is a crime against property that is eventually committed willfully without the owner’s consent. Moreover, it involves the damage and destruction of property on purpose. The most common reason for vandalism is to defame or break the value of a certain property. Following are the offenses that come under vandalism.
- Spraying someone else’s property to drop its value
- Throwing eggs on a car or on a house
- Draw scratch lines through keys on someone’s car
- Window breaking
- Tire slashing
- Making of graffiti art on public properties
- Spoiling of park benches
- Changing the street signs or breaking them down
- Attacking the property physically through kicking or punching
Additionally, some vandalism cases involve lethal equipment like electric drills and glass cutters which leads to other components of circumstances.
Constituents of providing vandalism in a court
In order to prove the vandalism in court, the prosecutor must collect the evidence. Vandalism conviction requires particular elements to obtain.
Elements are given below
Damage through carving: The coverage of these elements includes the art of graffiti, paintings, spray arts, tagging, and etching. However, this form of damage is barely serious and prevents the defacing level of the property.
Real property owner: The case must depict the damaged property belongs to someone else. In addition, the destruction must occur without the owner’s consent. The authenticity must declare the innocence of a victim. Although, it can take ways to insurance fraud if there is no proper witness or proof.
Intended vandalism: There must be an intention towards the crime commission. For example; you cannot commit vandalism accidentally, either way, you cannot file the case with statements of spilling some paint on the property or scratching the car by mistake.
Lawsuits of vandalism
In order to prevent damage and destruction, there is the existence of laws against vandalism. Along with the crime against property, the law also protects another behavioral damage committed by religious groups or minorities like ransacking churches, destroying school properties by sexist and racist writings through graffiti, and disrespecting swastikas in cars. Every state deals with vandalism differently and has several terms like criminal damage, malicious trespass, malicious mischief, etc. In order to protect the property damage, some states have restricted the engaged equipment via providing limited purchase of spray paints and other involved tools for defacing property. Moreover, some states strictly prohibit vandalism crime. However, some states have particular laws to claim the prohibition all the acts cause any certain vandalism.
Charges and penalties of Vandalism
Charges and penalties depend on the level of destruction caused by vandalism crime. However, vandalism is actually not a serious crime until it has affected the property value and destroyed its worth of money. Usually vandalism count as a misdemeanor. It includes fines and a year in a local jail as a penalty. A serious act of vandalism is a felony. In this case, the penalties are heavy like significant fines and sentences to state prison for more than a year.
Property damage that loses the value of less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor. Whereas, damage loss which is more than $1,000 is a felony. Every state has a different amount to include in a property loss.
Each state has categorized its penalties differently. Following are some common punishments sentence under vandalism.
- Jail and imprisonment
According to the property damage, criminals can be sentenced from days in jail to years in prison. If you have a previous history of committed vandalism or convicted record your jail penalties will be increased.
- Fine penalties
Fine penalties of vandalism have a range that varies in states. Depending on the offenses hundred dollars can widely go up to $25,000 or more than this. These fines are not payable to the property owner, it directly goes to court.
- Restitution money
The amount you pay directly to the property owner for the damage caused by you is restitution money. It is an additional amount to the fine you will pay in court. You have to pay enough amounts through which the owner can repair the damage.
- Trial basis
Instead of jail or imprisonment court can also sentence probation. These situations are often considered when you are a first-time offender or have no previous record of the initial crime. The sentenced probation goes under conditions. If you break the rules, the court will sentence you to the original jail.
- Charge of community service
The probation often sentences the performance in community services. In addition, courts sometimes sentence you to serve the community as punishment. It includes several hours of serving and volunteering at an organization or other community program. If you violate the rules and fail to perform your community services you will be moved to jail along with fines.
The conclusion demonstrates the thought of how to prove vandalism in a court in various categories. To know what your state laws say matters as they all differ from one and another. Along with the authentic evidence, the intensity of property damage is important to prove the vandalism. Consult an attorney for more relevant information.
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