What should I do if charged with vandalism? 11 Answers as of February 11, 2011

I was charged with vandalism for putting a bumper sticker on a one way sign. They offered me 2 years summary probation, 20 days in jail, and 1 year drivers license suspension. Is this extreme or normal? Is it really vandalism for putting a non damaging non permanent sticker on a sign? I know that City leaders seeking reelection put stickers and poster on poles and fences that don't belong to them. What is the difference?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
As with any criminal charges, you should defend the charges, negotiate an acceptable plea bargain or go to trial. This site is not going to give you a philosophical education into political justification for disparate treatment. Youve been offered a plea bargain. Either take it or go to trial. Bringing in an attorney now is not likely going to improve the offer, or at least not by much. If you want to go to trial, feel free to contact me for that help.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
It is extreme in my personal view.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
The Morales Law Firm
The Morales Law Firm | Chris Morales
You should try for a civil compromise, look at my blog for an article I wrote on civil compromises.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
I would never accept that disposition myself in a million years, and never advise any of my clients to do so. It is very extreme under these circumstances. I think an infraction for 'Disturbing the Peace', Penal Code section 415(2), with a file of approximately $150 would be sufficient. Fight it. Use the Public Defender, or even represent yourself. You did not say what County your case was in, so it is difficult to give you further specific advice.Your acts constituted vandalism, but there are other crimes in the Penal Code that could apply, as well. 'Disturbing the Peace' as an infraction would be a good disposition for you, but also fair to the County.

"California Penal Code 594. Vandalism; Punishment
(a) Every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own, in cases other than those specified by state law, is guilty of vandalism:
(1) Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material.
(2) Damages.
(3) Destroys.

Whenever a person violates this subdivision with respect to real property, vehicles, signs, fixtures, furnishings, or property belonging to any public entity, as defined by Section 811.2 of the Government Code, or the federal govern-ment, it shall be a permissive inference that the person neither owned the property nor had the permission of the owner to deface, damage, or destroy the property.

(b)(1) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is four hundred dollars ($400) or more, vandalism is pun-ishable by imprisonment in the state prison or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or if the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(2)(A) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is less than four hundred dollars ($400), vandalism is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment."
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2011
Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
It would be considered vandalism. Was it just 1 sticker put on 1 sign? If so, although it is within the statute, that penalty seems extreme to me, and should be negotiated down. What Court is this in? Call me. That deal they offered does not seem good for what you are describing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You have a decent case. Considering hiring an attorney to help you out. The goal is to plead to something other than vandalism, which requires (by law) a 1 year license suspension. The 20 days in jail certainly seems to be on the high end, assuming this is your first offense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    You should consult with an attorney before considering any plea. What you have been offered seems harsh, but then I do not know your criminal record. If you have no criminal record you should be able to do much better than what was offered.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    This sounds extreme for what you are charging but counties differ on what they offer. If I were you, I would call some attorneys and see what they can do for you. If you cannot afford an attorney, speak with a public defender as soon as you can. This is a serious case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    What a lot of crap. Do not take that deal. 20 days county for putting a sticker on a street traffic sign? If you have the public defender demand that he take it to trial. Most likely at that point the DA will cave in. No one wants to have a jury trial over this nonsense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
Click to View More Answers: