Graffiti in Seattle
Graffiti in Seattle
Graffiti involves the use of spray paints to deface others' property with pictures and messages. These images and words can range from gang symbols and racist slurs to political statements. One popular street artist, Banksy, has had his works of political and social commentary featured in cities, streets, walls, and bridges across the world. Yet no matter what the motive behind the graffiti, it is still a crime because it is defacing another person's property.
Lately, homeowners in Seattle have become the victims of graffiti. In the affluent community of Madison Valley, homes were vandalized at the beginning of 2018 with phrases such as "Yuppies" and "Eat the Rich." The perpetrators also smashed windows in a pickup truck outside a home.
The Crime of Graffiti in Washington
The state of Washington addresses graffiti and vandalism in several laws:
- RCW 9A.48.090 - Considers graffiti malicious mischief in the third degree
- RCW 9A.48.105 - Addresses criminal street gang tagging and graffiti
- RCW 4.24.190 - Takes action against the parents of the minor who injured property and makes them liable - Imposes financial responsibility on the parents of minors involved in acts of graffiti in some circumstances.
Numerous cities in Washington also have ordinances addressing graffiti in their communities. Some prohibit the sale of spray paint to minors and others require the perpetrator to remove the graffiti. If the perpetrator cannot be found, the homeowner is responsible for removing the graffiti in a specified amount of time. Monroe, for example, prohibits the possession of graffiti implements near schools by minors. Snohomish requires the removal of graffiti within 48 hours.
Penalties for Graffiti in Washington
While it may seem like no big deal to minors, being arrested and charged with a graffiti crime is serious and can have long-lasting consequences, especially if there is a criminal history. It is considered a crime of malicious mischief and, depending on the extent of the graffiti, it can be charged as first, second, or third degree malicious mischief. This can result in fines up to $1000 or more and at least 90 days in jail. If the damage done to property is valued at more than $250 then it can become a felony offense.
Unfortunately, many children and teens believe that graffiti isn’t a serious offense. Even parents may believe that it is just “kids being kids” and harmless. This is far from the case and understanding the severity of the crime is the first step towards fighting these serious charges. From the moment of arrest, it is imperative that you contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to begin helping you and your family through this difficult time.
Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with malicious mischief? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws
If you have been charged with malicious mischief or any crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible in order to protect your rights as well as your future. The expert defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defends the rights of individuals facing a multitude of serious charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!