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Is Graffiti illegal in Texas?  I’m going to give you a normal attorney answer.  It depends.  Some graffiti is legal and some is illegal.  When we see it, most of us classify graffiti as any type street art.

When you go around the DFW area you can find amazing graffiti in the Stock Yards, Swift Armory, Deep Ellum, Trinity Grove, and many more locations.

Legal Graffiti in Texas
Art versus graffiti

Crime

A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner with:

(1) paint;

(2) an indelible marker;  or

(3) an etching or engraving device.

As you see, graffiti becomes a crime when it is done without permission of the owner of the property.  Additionally, the graffiti must be permanent.  This would exclude acts such as chalk drawings on sidewalk.

Punishment

Graffiti illegal in Texas is classified by the amount of damage done and where the graffiti was done.  Graffiti is generally a misdemeanor if the damage is less than $2,500.  In the next paragraph, we will discuss locations that will increase the charge to a state jail felony. If the damages is greater than $2,500 than the charge will be a felony.

If the crime of graffiti was done to a school, a place of worship, a public monument, or a community center and the damage is between $750 and $30,000 then the charge will be a state jail felony.

General charges are as follows:

  • Less than $100: Class C Misdemeanor;
  • $100 to $749: Class B Misdemeanor;
  • $750 to $2,499: Class A Misdemeanor;
  • $2,500 to $2,999: State Jail Felony;
  • $30,000 to $149,999: Third Degree Felony;
  • $150,000 to $299,999: Second Degree Felony; and
  • $300,000 or greater: First Degree Felony
Permanent markings without the owners permission
Is Graffiti a crime in Texas?

Conclusion

If you have been charged with the crime of graffiti, consult with your criminal law attorney right away.  A bad decision can affect the rest of your life.