Vandalism can be defined under Nevada law as the willful and malicious destruction of real or personal property of another without the other’s consent. Nevada’s vandalism laws are found in Chapter 206 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) titled Malicious Mischief. These statutes include graffiti as a form of malicious mischief, although several other items are included in Chapter 206, such as killing livestock and destroying crops.
Simple vandalism as defined in NRS 206.310 is considered a public offense proportionate to the value of the property affected or loss resulting from the offense. The punishments for these violations are found in NRS 193.155. Fines and jail time are on a sliding scale as follows:
- Less than $25 = fine of not more than $500
- $25 – $250 = misdemeanor – up to 6 months in jail and/or fine of no more than $1,000
- $250 – $5,000 = gross misdemeanor – up to 1 year in jail and/or fine of no more than $2,000
- $5,000 or more, or when damage results in impairment of public communications, transportation or police and fire protection = Category C felony – one to five years in state prison and/or fine up to $10,000
Graffiti, which is a specialized form of vandalism, carries its own set up punishments as found in NRS 206.330, which roughly correspond to simple vandalism, with these additional penalties:
- First offense = fine of $400 – $1,000 and 100 hours of community service
- Second offense = fine of $750 to $1,000 and 200 hours of community service
- Third and subsequent offenses = $1,000 fine and 300 hours of community service
Further, the court may order the person to clean up his own graffiti, or if not practical, to clean up other graffiti. Additionally, the person may be required to pay restitution as required by the court.
If the person is under 18 years old, the parent or guardian is required to pay all fines and penalties or perform community service. If the person is over 18, the court shall also issue an order suspending his driver’s license for six months to two years.
These criminal penalties are in addition to any civil penalties assessed against the person.
Defense Against Vandalism Charges
The punishments established under the statutes are severe and can include substantial fines and jail time. If you have been charged with vandalism, you should consult with a criminal attorney to defend against these charges.
In many cases, negotiations can result in simple restitution to the property owner and you may be able to avoid the criminal charge being added to your record. In cases where a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the damage was done willfully and maliciously, and that you were in fact the person who did the damage.
The Defenders has the experience to provide a defense against vandalism charges. Call us today for a consultation at (702) 333-3333.