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Columbia SC Vandalism Defense Attorney

Under South Carolina law, vandalism is charged as malicious injury or illegal graffiti vandalism. If convicted, you face imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. If you have recently been charged with vandalism, you need to speak with our legal team to discern your next steps.

What is Vandalism?

Vandalism is a crime against property. Under South Carolina Code §16-11-520, it is illegal to willfully (deliberately) and maliciously damage, deface public or private property without the owner’s consent. Malicious injury means that a person damaged property without a legal reason or good excuse.

The Palmetto State has a second law, codified as South Carolina Code §16-11-770, which makes it illegal to paint, spray, or etch a marking or any other design onto a building, fence, or structure. The legislature terms this type of defacing of property as illegal graffiti vandalism.

Penalties for Vandalism

Over the past thirty years, there has been a 46% increase in the number of vandalism cases in South Carolina. South Carolina punishes offenders with imprisonment, statutory or court-imposed fines, or potentially both.

If you are charged under S.C. Code § 16-11-520, you will incur the following penalties:

If you are charged with illegal graffiti vandalism, this is considered a misdemeanor. The following penalties will apply:

Additionally, a person who is convicted of vandalism may be ordered to remove the graffiti or pay the victim for any damage sustained to their property (known as restitution).

What Must a Prosecutor Prove to Convict You?

In vandalism cases, the state prosecutor must prove the following four elements:

It is up to a district attorney to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence, your case may be dismissed.

How Can a Columbia, SC, Vandalism Attorney Help Me?

A vandalism charge is often brought against someone in conjunction with other charges, such as arson. This increases your likelihood of incarceration, so getting an experienced attorney is necessary to safeguard your freedom.

If you are facing vandalism charges, you want a criminal defense attorney who can explain the charges against you and the penalties for each. A vandalism attorney will conduct an investigation and collect evidence to discern if any defenses are applicable. This will give you the best chance of avoiding a lengthy prison sentence or excessive fines.

If you are looking for a firm that offers aggressive and dedicated representation, the legal team at the Law Office of Sharpe & Leventis is here to help. With both our attorneys being appointed to the Super Lawyers list, we are proud to provide top-level counsel to our clients. To schedule your free consultation, contact us by phone or by filling out our online contact  form.