Pennsylvania’s Vandalism Laws
Vandalism is the deliberate destruction or damage of public or private property. Y are potentially facing heavy fines, jail time, or even time behind bars in state prison. Do not make the mistake of believing that these charges will somehow blow over or that you will be let off with a warning. You need an experienced Philadelphia attorney at your side to beat these charges.
As per statute 3307, institutional vandalism occurs when a person desecrates, defaces, or does other damage to a place of worship, a burial site, a school, public or government, or on the grounds of any of the aforementioned locations. Institutional vandalism is considered a third degree felony if the damages exceed $5,000 or if the act was one of desecration. Under to Pennsylvania Statute 5509 desecration is defined as, “Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.” Otherwise, the crime is a second degree misdemeanor.
Under statute 3309, if the vandalism is towards a piece of property used in agriculture or the farming industry, then it is considered to be “agricultural vandalism.” Vandalism in this sense is any intentional or reckless defacing, marking, or damaging of real or tangible personal property.
If the defendant intentionally caused pecuniary losses, they will be charged as follows:
- Pecuniary losses caused by either recklessness or intent greater than $500 — Misdemeanor of the second degree
- Pecuniary losses caused by intent greater than$1,000 — Misdemeanor of the first degree
- Pecuniary losses caused by intent greater than $5,000 — Felony of the third degree
A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years incarceration and a fine of $5,000. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to five years incarceration and a fine of $10,000. A third degree felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, pursuant to Pennsylvania Statute 106 and Pennsylvania Statute 1101. Each act of vandalism can be charged as a separate offense. For example, if you allegedly damaged multiple pieces of agricultural property of various owners, you could be charged with half a dozen vandalism offenses.