Not all property crimes have to do with someone trying to steal something. It is possible to face a criminal charge even when there isn’t anything taken. Vandalism is an example of this. Many people don’t realize how something as seemingly simple as a prank can lead to serious legal trouble.

Sometimes, teenagers and even young adults will do things that deface another person’s property. Egging a house or spray painting graffiti are two examples of actions that could be construed as vandalism. Many people think of graffiti as an artistic expression. While this is true, it is a crime if it is done without the property owner’s permission.

This permission is what sets a crime apart from a legal action. If you have the property owner’s permission to paint something or alter it, you won’t face criminal charges for doing what the owner allowed you to do. It is a good idea to discuss your entire plan with the owner so that you don’t end up going beyond the intended scope of the project.

If you are facing a vandalism charge, you have find out what constitutes vandalism. Typically, it means altering the property of another person when that person didn’t approve the alterations. Even writing down a phone number in a bathroom stall could land you in court.

These charges must be taken seriously because they are a mark on your criminal record that could lead to you having issues finding employment or housing. It can also mean that you have to deal with a criminal sentence, which might include fines, community service, restitution or more depending on what the court orders.