The police in New York are aggressive in their pursuit of offenders and prosecutors are stern in their approach to those who have been arrested for vandalism, spray painting, tagging or marking up both private and public property. Make no mistake. Making Graffiti, pursuant to New York Penal Law 145.60, is a crime that many District Attorney's Offices are taking a firm stand against and police agencies from the NYPD to those in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties are actively enforcing. Although the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law have successfully avoided criminal records and even arrests on behalf of clients accused of Making Graffiti, Criminal Mischief and Possession of Graffiti Instruments, the magnitude of law enforcement’s time, dollars and energy put into stopping New York graffiti crimes cannot be overstated. In fact, the NYPD’s Vandal’s Squad serves numerous purposes, but one of their main objectives is to investigating graffiti related offenses in New York City and arresting those who break the law.
- Possession of Graffiti Instruments: NY Penal Law 145.65
- Criminal Mischief: NY Penal Law Sections 145.00, 145.05 and 145.10
Generally, you are guilty of Making Graffiti, NY Penal Law 145.60, when you mark up another person’s property whether it is owned by a private company or the custodian of the property is some branch of government. While many people likely assume Making Graffiti involves permanent damage such as the use of indelible markers, deep scratches and grooves, or some form of paint to make a mural, tag a wall, or do something similar to another person’s property, the New York Penal Law does not require your actions reach this level. Instead, etching, drawing and even covering another person’s property with posters or stickers can violate NY PL 145.60. Although the law of Making Graffiti requires an intent to damage property, the actual application and legal interpretation of the law does not mandate you intended to or actually caused any damage. While actually damaging property can subject you to a misdemeanor or felony Criminal Mischief arrest, merely because you are an artist with the intent to share your talent or create something of beauty, not damage property, will not prevent your prosecution.
Making Graffiti is an "A" misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Yes, Rikers Island, the Westchester County Jail and the Dutchess County Jail can be your “home” for days, weeks and up to one year.Making Graffiti and the NYPD Vandal Squad
Compounding matters, as briefly mentioned, the Vandal Squad is relentless in their pursuit of those whom they believe are active, chronic or large-scale graffiti artists. In the event you are accused of making a particular tag or sign, the NYPD may use an earlier or current arrest, or your admission about a tag, as probable cause in an attempt to arrest you again and charge you with as many offenses as they can link back to your alleged conduct. In fact, the New York graffiti crimes defense lawyers at Saland Law have represented multiple clients where police officers or detectives in the NYPD’s Vandalism Squad have actually contacted our clients post-arraignment despite our clients having legal representation. This is a clear violation of the law.
Obviously, in the event you are accused of graffiti related crimes in New York City or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, never be afraid to exercise your right to remain silent and to request an attorney. While it may upset the arresting or investigating police officers and you may be subject to threats of additional arrests or higher-level charges, you will only have yourself to blame if you provide the necessary evidence – an admission – that allows law enforcement to prosecute you to the full extent allowed by law.
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If you are being investigated or have been arrested for Making Graffiti, NY PL 145.60, or the related crimes of Criminal Mischief and Possession of Graffiti Instruments, contact Saland Law. When the direct, collateral and long-term impacts of an arrest and conviction cannot be ignored, know that our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors have the experienced and knowledge to best advocate in your defense and for your future.
Call our New York Making Graffiti criminal defense lawyers at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today.