Levitt & Levitt Serving Tennessee and Northern Georgia
Free Initial Consultation:
Chattanooga 423-443-4281
Trenton, GA 706-398-9063
Menu Contact
Because Experience Counts Premier Representation For Criminal Defense And Personal Injury

Why you must take vandalism charges seriously

Even though Halloween is now officially behind us, this will by no means stop many teens and college students from pursuing the time-honored tradition of pulling pranks.

There is, of course, nothing problematic with these antics from a legal perspective provided no one gets hurt and nothing is damaged. While this may seem obvious to most, consider that many young people are nevertheless prone to making impulsive decisions, perhaps discounting the possibility of property damage in their quest to pull of the perfect bit of mischief.

This is significant because the law here in Tennessee adopts a very hard stance against property crimes like vandalism, meaning young people apprehended by law enforcement officials can expect more than just a good talking to.

How does Tennessee law define vandalism?

State law defines vandalism as knowingly causing damage to any personal or real property belonging to "another or of the state, the United States, any county, city, or town" without securing the owner's effective consent.

Here, damage is considered to include everything from destruction and contamination to pollution and tampering with property resulting in monetary loss or substantial inconvenience.

What types of acts would fall under this definition?

While it's impossible to compile a complete listing of all the offenses that would be considered vandalism under state law, some acts that would likely constitute vandalism include graffiti on private or publically owned land, throwing eggs at another's home, "keying" another's automobile, slashing tires, breaking windows and knocking down street signs to name only a few.

How is vandalism punished?

How acts of vandalism are charged and punished by law enforcement officials will depend on the amount of damage caused. In fact, vandalism is charged in the same manner as theft crimes.

For example, a person will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the damaged property is $500 or less. Here, a conviction can result in no more than 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

(For a more complete picture, please see our previous post discussing the punishment for theft crimes and substitute the phrase "stolen property" with "damaged property.")

If you or a loved one have been charged with vandalism or any other property crime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

We Are Ready To Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Chattanooga Office
312 Vine Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403

Toll Free: 888-701-5114
Phone: 423-443-4281
Fax: 423-266-8342
Chattanooga Criminal Law Office

Trenton Office
1046 Brow Road
Trenton, GA 30752

Phone: 706-398-9063 - Trent
Fax: 423-266-8342
Trenton Law Office Map