Wednesday, August 22, 2012

South Carolina police search for two accused of vandalism

On behalf of Anderson Law Firm posted in Theft And Property Crimes on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Police are searching for two individuals they believe are responsible for vandalizing school buses in Loris, South Carolina. The damage, including slashed tires, broken windows and spray paint defacement, is estimated to be in the range of $10,000. The two alleged vandals were caught on surveillance cameras, which police hope will lead to identification and criminal charges.

Vandalism is typically thought of as criminal damage directed toward property without the consent of the property's owner. In order for prosecutors to bring a successful charge against an accused vandal it must be shown that the accused willfully damaged the property. The police take vandalism seriously, as they do all property crimes. Depending on the amount of damage caused, vandalism can constitute either a misdemeanor or a felony.

When convicted of vandalism, you could face many forms of punishment. A convicted vandal may have to pay restitution by cleaning or repairing vandalized property, perform community service, pay fines and/or go to jail. The consequences of a conviction are severe. Anyone accused of such crimes should have a proper defense to ensure that they are not falsely convicted or that the lightest form of punishment is enacted.

One way to do this is to show that the accused did not intend to destroy the property. Accidents happen. One might throw a rock out of jest and break a window or unintentionally spill something onto the property of another. These incidents do not constitute vandalism. Other mitigating defenses include indifference, mischief and, in some circumstances, creative expression.

Surveillance cameras pose another risk: false identification. Footage from cheap or faulty security cameras can result in low-quality images that lead to misinterpretation and misidentification.

A good defense team will attack any flimsy evidence of vandalism and force prosecutors to prove their claims. Vandalism is a serious charge that should be defended just as seriously.

Source: WMBF News, "Police release video, continue search for school bus vandals," April 25, 2012

Tags: Theft and property crimes, criminal defense

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