Vandalism is when someone maliciously or purposely destroys property that is owned by someone else. Some examples of vandalism include graffiti, breaking windows, tagging or simply damaging another's personal property. If you have been charged with vandalism, you do not need to face this charge alone. Our experienced property crime attorneys provide representation throughout the legal process. We ensure each client is informed about their case every step of the way. At the Law Office of David Ellison, our attorneys are skilled Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys and have handled many types of serious charges, including vandalism.
What is Massachusetts General Law on Vandalism?
The crime of vandalism in Massachusetts can be found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 126A. The law states vandalism is when someone intentionally, willfully, and maliciously or wantonly, paints, marks, scratches, etches or otherwise marks, injures, mars, defaces or destroys the real or personal property of another including but not limited to a wall, fence, building, sign, rock, monument, gravestone or tablet.
Elements of Vandalism in Massachusetts
To prove the defendant is guilty of vandalism, the prosecutor has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following four (4) things:
- The defendant destroyed, defaced, marred, injured, etched, scratched, marked, or painted, the property.
- The act was done intentionally.
- The act was done willfully with malice or wantonly.
- The property belonged to someone other than the defendant.
A defendant acts intentionally if the decision to vandalize was done deliberately and consciously. A defendant acts willfully with malice if the intention of the act was to cause harm out of cruelty, hostility or revenge. A defendant acts wantonly if the decision they consciously made was made recklessly or with indifference or disregarded to the property.
What is the penalty for vandalism in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts G.L. c. 266, §126A states the possible penalties if convicted of vandalism are:
- Up to 3 years in State Prison
- Up to 2 years in the house of correction
- A fine of not more than $1,500 or not more than three times the value of the property so marked, injured, marred, defaced or destroyed, whichever is greater; or
- Payment for the removal or obliteration of such painting, marking, scratching, or etching.
- Potential Felony Conviction
Is Vandalism a Felony in Massachusetts?
Yes, the defacement of real or personal property, vandalism, in Massachusetts is a felony charge. This is a serious charge with the possibility of fines and going to Massachusetts state prison.
Vandalism charges are serious and can impact your future. If you or a loved one has been charged with vandalizing property, you need trained Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers, contact the Law Office of David Ellison today.