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Can I get in trouble for doing graffiti?

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | November 9, 2017

Drive through any downtown area in Colorado and you may see a wide variety of graffiti painted on walls, the sides of businesses and beneath overpasses. There are many people who consider graffiti to be an art form, but there are at least as many who think graffiti is unsightly and a destruction of property.

Whether you face criminal charges for spray-painting your work for the rest of the city to see can depend on the location you choose for your public canvas and local laws.  Here, we discuss the two most common ways graffiti is handled in many cities across the United States.

A unique form of public art

More and more people these days are learning to appreciate graffiti as a particularly interesting art form. Graffiti artists, especially young people, create their own style and use the platform as a way to express their views, announce their presence or just beautify their surroundings. In fact, some communities now encourage public graffiti walls and some business owners allow artists to brighten up the outside of their buildings.

A criminal nuisance

But many people still consider graffiti to be the destruction of public or private property. Most communities especially frown upon gang tagging, which marks a certain gang's territory. Whenever you paint graffiti without permission or in an area where is it not specifically allowed or encouraged, you may face charges. You might also have to clean up your work or pay the cost of removal.

Whether your goal is to leave your unique mark for others to see or to become the next graffiti celebrity, you will need to be aware of the local regulations regarding graffiti to avoid getting charged with a crime. If you feel compelled to spray graffiti or create another type of spray art, do it on your property or in legal areas set aside specifically for that purpose.

If you have been charged with a crime involving graffiti or another type of vandalism, know that there are defenses to these types of crimes. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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