Institutional Vandalism


to top

Maybe you spray-painted a protest slogan on the windows at your school or you kicked over the gravestones at a cemetery. It may have just been a prank or a moment’s impulsiveness, but if you desecrated a place of worship, school, government building or cemetery you can be charged with institutional vandalism. You may face jail time, fines and a criminal record. You will need a strong and experienced defense.

What You Need To Know About Institutional Vandalism

In Pennsylvania, you commit institutional vandalism if you knowingly desecrate, vandalize or deface the building, objects inside or grounds of:

  • A church, synagogue or any place used for religious worship.
  • A cemetery or mortuary.
  • A school, educational facility, community center, municipal building, government building or courthouse.

If you carry a spray-paint can, broad-tipped indelible marker or similar marking device onto any of the properties listed above with the intent to deface or vandalize, you can be charged with institutional vandalism.

Institutional vandalism where the loss will cost more than $5,000 to repair is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. If the value to repair the damage is less, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

What Your Lawyer Can Do

Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

  • Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
  • Much of what your lawyer can do to help you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case.
  • You may have acted without criminal intent. If so, your lawyer will gather the evidence or witnesses to prove it.

Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against an institutional vandalism charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing a determined prosecutor. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.

Pennsylvania Institutional Vandalism Law

Institutional vandalism is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 33. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.