Whether it is on bridges, overpasses or on the side of a building or fence, graffiti is a common sight in New York. Some New Yorkers may even consider graffiti to be an art form. However, that doesn’t change the fact that making graffiti is still considered to be a crime in New York.
Under New York Penal Code section 145.60, graffiti includes marks that have been etched, painted, drawn or otherwise placed on property. Property for the purposes of this statute could be private property, such as a house, an office building or a store, or it could be public property. That being said, for these types of acts to be considered graffiti, the intention of the accused must be to cause damage to the property at issue. It is against New York law to make graffiti on buildings or other property, whether privately owned or public property, unless the individual who owns the property expressly permits it. It is a class A misdemeanor to make graffiti.
It is also against the law to possess graffiti instruments that were used to make a mark on a piece of private or public property without permission. Graffiti instruments could include solutions, substances and tools. It is a class B misdemeanor to possess graffiti instruments.
As this shows, graffiti charges do come with consequences. Although being charged with a misdemeanor is not as serious as being charged with a felony, any sort of criminal charges are obviously undesirable. Even simply having to pay a fine could lead to financial difficulties, especially if the fine is steep. Making graffiti is a crime in New York; those who are accused of it need to mount a solid defense against such charges.