In spite of the faction of society that insists graffiti is an important contribution to art, Texas law takes a dim view of marking someone else’s property without consent. The penalties for a graffiti conviction range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on how much damage there is and what type of property the “artist” marked.
If an officer catches your child making marks with an indelible marker or paint, or using some kind of device to etch or engrave marks, the outcome is not likely to be jail time, but that does not mean he or she will escape penalties.
If your child is between the ages of 10 and 16, he or she is a juvenile and will be under the jurisdiction of the Texas Juvenile Justice System. The juvenile court intake officer is likely to recommend that your child receive deferred prosecution if your child is not a habitual offender.
Deferred prosecution is a probation period that may last as long as six months. If your child complies with all the conditions and does not get in trouble for delinquent conduct again, he or she will not have a juvenile record.
Your child may need to attend a class or counseling regarding victim empathy and self-responsibility. The juvenile court may also refer your child to another agency for rehabilitation purposes. There may be a fee for you to pay in order for your child to engage in the services.
Another condition will be restitution to the property owner. Hopefully, your child will be able to restore the damaged property to its original state with a few hours of elbow grease. If there are expenses involved in the restoration process, the court may order you to pay them, as well as any expenses related to the damages.
Community service is almost always a condition of deferred prosecution.
Violating probation terms ends the deferred prosecution, and the prosecuting attorney will then take your child’s original case before the court. Your child will need a strong defense to keep him or her from the short- and long-term consequences of a juvenile conviction.