Graffiti is one of the most serious criminal offences in the UK. Although the law is often poorly enforced, the vast majority of people who are targeted in street crimes are not victims of crime. Graffiti attacks are not a reflection of the quality of the victims’ personal, social, political, or economic situation. To determine the offence committed by a person or a group, you need to have a clear understanding of the offences being discussed.
How can a person be charged with vandalism?
There is no fixed sentence that any individual can face for the offence of vandalism. Each case must be judged against the circumstances of each case and the underlying offence. The more serious the offence, the longer the sentence that will apply.
For simple, non-serious vandalism such as graffiti, simple offence carries a maximum custodial sentence of one year imprisonment. Other more serious offences carry stiffer penalties. For example, for a first-time attempt to commit an aggravated trespass offence, the maximum maximum sentence is one to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £25,000.
If a person is suspected of committing a crime against an individual’s property such as vandalism or break-and-enter, the charge of trespass and/or break and enter may also be laid. This type of offence carries a custodial sentence of up to five years imprisonment and/or fined up to £5,000.
If the person is suspected of committing a crime in the course of committing another criminal act, they may face imprisonment. For example, someone who broke into a home, stole money or property, caused nuisance or damage could be charged with theft. Another crime offence that could be charged is assault with intent to rob or kidnap. This could include assaults against other persons, or property (if the offence is in the course of committing another offence).
What crimes can’t be charged as vandalism?
If you are convicted of vandalism, as discussed above, the maximum sentence would be imprisonment of 3 to 7 years (depending on the seriousness of your offence). However, there may be certain circumstances where vandalism would be charged as theft. This can include:
the theft of items which have the value of up to £800.
the theft of goods that have been purchased.
the theft of goods which were intended to be returned.
the theft of goods in storage, or used in conjunction with other theft.
You could also face a fine of up to £250
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