In an effort to fight the out of control graffiti problem, the Los Angeles city council is considering tightening restrictions on the sale of spray paint according to this article from the LA Times.
The instrument of choice among graffiti artists, spray paint is already restricted within the city to people under the age of 18. The council is looking to increase this age to 21 and potentially make it a crime for minors to carry spray paint.
While there are state laws in California making graffiti against the law, these city ordinances seek to prevent it.
Similar ordinances exist in New York where it’s already illegal for people under the age of 21 to purchase spray paint. Also, in New York, property owners must remove graffiti from their property within 60 days of receiving notice from the city.
In Chicago, spray paint and indelible markers were banned completely in 1992. The ban was appealed and reversed in 1993 following a lawsuit involving businesses in the paint industry. However, in 1995 the ban was found to be constitutional by the 7th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and was reinstated.
Graffiti often plagues poor urban areas and is often the mark of gang activity. Once graffiti pops up it multiplies and can contribute to the overall decline of community pride. Because graffiti is committed against other people’s private property or government property, the penalties under state law can be serious as well.
If the act causes damage greater than $400, it can result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and $10,000 in fines. If this isn’t your first offense, the sentence can be elevated. This is only the penalty at the state level. City ordinances exist around the state as well.
If you are facing charges of vandalism, you may want to consult with an experience local defense attorney. I am interested in your case and in helping you get the best results possible in court. Call me today for a consultation on your case.