In Florida, vandalism charges are no joke. Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that property crime makes up 85.6 percent of all crime. Vandalism might seem like a minor property crime. In fact, most people believe that vandalism is a relatively harmless offense. When a business suffers vandalism, it costs a business a few thousand dollars. Certain vandalism charges may lead to fines and jail time.
FindLaw defines a vandalism charge as the willful and malicious destruction of property. This can include a variety of crimes. The penalties that a person faces when charged with vandalism is dependent on the type of vandalism and the extent of the property damage. If you interrupt a business or public service, you may face felony charges. If you deface a mosque, church or other place of worship, then you may also face jail time and a felony charge.
Vandalism examples may include:
- Keying a car
- Slashing tires
- Defacing park benches
There are many different ways that a person can deface or destroy property. It is a misdemeanor charge in the second degree if the vandalism results in less than $200 in property damage. A first-degree misdemeanor charge results in property damage above $200 and less than $999. These charges may result in a fine up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail. For those who commit vandalism and the property damage amounts to over $1,000 or the vandalism leads to business interruption, it is a felony with up to a $5,000 fine or up to five years in prison.