Vandalism is a serious criminal offense in the state of Ohio. What may initially begin as a harmless prank or impulsive dare can actually result in being charged with a felony, which can entail extensive prison time in addition to fees.
Vandalism is defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2909.05) as knowingly doing any of the following:
- Causing serious harm or damage to a structure, whether or not it is being used as property or has individuals inside of it;
- Causing serious harm to a piece of property owned by another individual for either of the following reasons:
- It is used for an individual’s business or trade and the value of the property or the amount of physical damage is more than $1,000;
- It is crucial to the operation of the owner’s profession, business or trade.
- Causing serious harm or damage to any property that is owned, leased or controlled by a governmental body;
- Causing serious harm or damage, without permission, to a cemetery and the property contained inside;
- Causing harm or damage by breaking into a burial place without permission.
If you are convicted of vandalism in the state of Ohio, you will be charged with a felony. What type of felony and the resulting penalties you face depend on the severity of the facts and circumstances of your particular case.
If the value of the property you damage is less than $5,000 this is considered a fifth-degree felony offense. You will face at least six months and up to 12 months in prison, in addition to $2,500 in fines.
If the value of the property you damage is between $5,000 and $100,000, this is considered a fourth-degree felony offense. You fill face at least six months and up to 18 months in prison, in addition to up to $5,000 in fines.
If the value of the property you damage is more than $100,000, this is considered a third-degree felony offense. You will face at minimum one year and at most five years in prison, in addition to up to $10,000 in fines.
Examples of acts of vandalism:
- Graffiti on any building
- Slashing tires
- Breaking windows
- Throwing eggs at someone’s house
- ‘Keying’ or scratching a vehicle
- Damaging public or private property in any way
- Removing nails from a bench
- Damaging a neighbor’s fence