Vandalism and Tagging
A conviction for vandalism and tagging could result in a jail sentence and will result in a driver’s license suspension from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.Elements of Vandalism and Tagging
In order to convict a defendant of vandalism and tagging, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant applied paint or placed a sticker on a wall, a building, a sign, a fence, a gravestone, a tablet, a monument, or any other object or thing on any public way or adjoined to any public way, or in public view, or on any private property; and
- The defendant intended to mar, deface, mark, damage, or destroy such property.
Vandalism cases can be defended in a variety of ways.
- Identity of the Vandal - Vandalism and tagging usually occurs at night. Therefore, identification of the defendant is often an issue at trial. Attorney Spring will file motions to compel witnesses to identify the defendant prior to trial in a non-suggestive manner (usually by having the defendant sit in a crowded courtroom and seeing if the witnesses can pick the defendant out of the crowd).
- Bias - Because the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant intended to damage or destroy the alleged victim’s property, bias (or motive for the alleged victim to lie) is almost always a live issue at trial. Whether the defendant allegedly damaged the property of a former employer, a former spouse, another family member, or an estranged neighbor, any bad feelings between the parties may create an incentive for the alleged victim to lie. Attorney Spring will fully examine any bias or motive to lie during his cross-examination of the alleged victim.
- While a conviction for vandalism and tagging carries potentially serious consequences, prosecutors can sometimes be convinced to dismiss these cases upon the payment of restitution or court costs. In addition to saving the defendant from being convicted of a crime, it will save the defendant’s driver’s license from being suspended. Attorney Spring will attempt to convince prosecutors that dismissal of the charges is appropriate in your case.
Given the serious consequences that result from a conviction for vandalism or tagging property, you should hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney who has experience in litigating these types of cases. Attorney Chris Spring prosecuted these cases earlier in his career when he served as an assistant district attorney and since becoming a defense attorney, he has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with these types of cases. Having tried more than 150 cases before Massachusetts juries in both district and superior court, Attorney Spring has the necessary experience to guide you through the criminal justice system and present your side of the story to a jury. As with any crime, you should never speak to the police before first consulting with a criminal defense attorney to explore all of your options. Attorney Spring is particularly sensitive to the fact that many times the defendants in these cases are high school or college students who made an error of judgment. He describes his clients’ personal history to the prosecutor in an effort to convince the prosecutor that a criminal conviction is a disproportionate punishment for the crime.