Possession of Graffiti Instruments

While it may not be “lions and tigers and bears,” an “Oh my!” is potentially warranted if you are arrested in New York City by the NYPD’s Vandal Squad or uniformed officers for possessing any tool, liquid or substance commonly used in the making of graffiti. No, as an experienced NYC graffiti lawyer will explain, it is not a crime to merely possess spray paint, a marker, or an etching tool in New York State per se, but if a negative inference can be made as to the purpose and intent of your possession, do not be surprised if the police arrest you for violating New York Penal Law 145.65, Possession of Graffiti Instruments. Whether it is the Westchester County Police, the City of Poughkeepsie Police, the White Plains Police or the NYPD, all of these police agencies, and the District Attorney’s Offices in their respective jurisdictions, will take all lawful steps to stop the proliferation of graffiti crimes including Possession of Graffiti Instruments, Making Graffiti and Criminal Mischief.

Possession of Graffiti Instruments: Elements of NY Penal Law 145.65

Although less serious than Making Graffiti and any degree of Criminal Mischief, Possession of Graffiti Instruments, pursuant to NY Penal Law 145.65, is a class “B” misdemeanor. Will you end up incarcerated post-conviction? Maybe or maybe not, but what will unequivocally happen is that if you are convicted of Possession of Graffiti Instruments there will be no asterisk comparing this crime to a more serious offense, but a lifelong criminal record that will follow you forever.

Punishable by up to 90 days in jail, Possession of Graffiti Instruments is committed when you possess any instrument (a tool, liquid, substance, etc.) that has a common purpose or use to cover, etch, paint or merely to make a mark on public or private property. A secondary, but equally important element of Possession of Graffiti Instruments is that you did not have permission or authority to make the mark and you possessed these instruments under circumstances demonstrating an intent to damage that particular piece of property. How prosecutors plan on proving your intent – were you caught in the act, is there fresh paint matching the color of your spray pain, etc. – is dependent on the facts and evidence in your case. What doesn’t change from case to case, however, is that even if probable cause exists to place you under arrest and send you to Central Booking in NYC or give you a Desk Appearance Ticket, once you have the ability to reflect on your arrest and consult with your criminal lawyer, you will examine numerous defenses including why and how the police stopped you, searched your person or bag, and connected you to the tools or substances allegedly in violation of NY PL 145.65.

Do not have a cavalier attitude or behave indifferent if you are charged with Possession of Graffiti Instruments or accept the consequences when the criminal case comes crashing down upon you. From the time you are stopped and through law enforcement’s attempt to question you, remember your rights to best protect yourself from additional crimes and future arrests. Whether or not you face jail time, community service or any other punishment including probation, avoiding a criminal conviction is paramount to your future. All too familiar with this, the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC are ready to protect you and utilize their experience and knowledge to best advocate in your defense.

Call our New York graffiti crimes defense lawyers at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today.

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