In some older movies, especially comedies, teenagers egg a person’s house or toilet paper a yard. This is usually done as a prank and not with malicious intent. What you might not realize is that these seemingly innocent acts can actually land the teen in the court system. The same is true for adults who might do the same thing.

You can’t just do whatever you want to another person’s property. You can face criminal charges for damaging or defacing another person’s property. This is known as vandalism. While it might not be considered a serious crime, it is still one that can cause serious problems for you and that can remain on your criminal record if you are convicted. It is imperative that you understand some basic points about this criminal act.

One thing that people don’t tend to think about is that they don’t have to destroy the property in order for it to be classified as vandalism. It simply has to be damaged or altered in some form. Anything that defaces the property, such as writing on it in pencil or throwing raw eggs on it, can be considered vandalism.

Graffiti is a form of vandalism that some people claim is art. While it is true that it is vibrant, colorful and creative, graffiti is against the law unless the person gets the permission from the owner of the property to display the artwork.

For people who are facing vandalism charges, understanding the possible penalties and learning about what options are possible might help them make decisions about what to do for a defense strategy.

Source: FindLaw, “Vandalism,” accessed June 08, 2018