Graffiti is prohibited in the U.S. If you’re caught tagging a building, building code enforcement officers can issue a warrant for your arrest.
The U.S. Code states that graffiti is a crime. The following types of graffiti are classified as crimes:
Physical graffiti is defined as:
“Defacements of a building, structures, property, or street or highway.” (Title 16, Section 805.2)
“Posting or affixing to or in any building, structure, property, or street or highway any word (or other mark) or design (or design-to-be-done) intended to be removed from that building, structure, property, or street or highway; whether permanent or temporary.” (Title 16, Section 813)
“Writing, lithographic, or drawing any inscription, drawing, image, or other mark in any public place or in the presence of other people or their property.” (Title 17, Section 4(a)(6)).
“Writing, lithographic, or drawing any permanent or temporary, or any letter, sentence, or designation, upon any monument, bust, monument, arch, gazebo, fountain, fountain seat, or fountain piece.” (Title 17, Section 4(b)).
“Obstruction of a public way.” It can also include graffiti. (Title 17, Section 5(a)).
(Title 17, Section 5(a)). “Graffiti shall mean a defacement of a building, structure, property, or street or highway, or any part thereof, or the inscription or design to be used thereon.” (Title 17, Section 5(d)).
A building can be permanently tagged if it contains a door, window, or any other way that people can pass in and out. There is no limit on how large the tagging can be.
Graffiti on a vehicle can be considered a crime. Graffiti on a vehicle is a Class 3 misdemeanor; any other non-misdemeanor can be classified as a Class 4 felony.
Graffiti on a highway can be considered a crime for all vehicles except for:
Motorcycles with a four-stroke cylinder (e.g. Ducati motorcycles with the cylinder cut to one or more cylinders)
Any vehicle that is not a truck.
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