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To be charged with vandalism, you must have done any of the following:

  • Knowingly caused serious harm to a structure (building, bridge, etc.) that’s being used or any property inside it
  • Knowingly harm property owned or possessed by someone else, when either of the following applies:
    • It’s used for business purposes and either it’s worth $1,000 or more, or the amount of damage is $1,000 or more
    • It’s essential to that person’s job
  • Knowingly cause serious harm to property owned, leased or controlled by the government
  • Without permission, knowingly cause serious harm to a cemetery or the property within
  • Without permission, harm a burial place by breaking and entering

Depending on the nature of the allegations, vandalism penalties can range from a fifth degree felony, punishable by up to 12 months in prison to a third degree felony punishable by up to 36 months in prison.

If you are convicted of vandalism, additional potential issues include:

  • Maintaining your current employment
  • Licensure issues in some professions
  • Difficulty getting a good job in the future
  • Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings

Simply put, if you are convicted of vandalism, it will potentially be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you run the risk of being considered someone who cannot respect the property of others. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your vandalism charge the level of importance it deserves.

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes an aggressive and comprehensive approach when representing clients charged with vandalism. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made, whether your arrest was lawful, whether there were issues with the collection, storage and testing of evidence and what other legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, lab reports and potentially video or audio. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients charged with criminal offenses from minor misdemeanors to first degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

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If you’ve been charged with vandalism, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced vandalism attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at

Value of the property

This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of six months to one year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • An additional mandatory fine of $2,500
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
Have a question concerning vandalism we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335


FAX: (614) 413-2886