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NY Penal Law § 145.60: Making graffiti

New York Penal Law has several different offenses that are designed to punish those who damage property that belongs to another person. One such law makes it illegal to make graffiti. Graffiti is defined as defacing property by etching, painting, covering, drawing upon or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property. Under New York Penal Law § 145.60, you could be prosecuted for making graffiti if you:

  1. Make graffiti on the property of another person, and
  2. You do not have permission from the property owner to make graffiti.

Angry that his friends were recently arrested on "bogus" charges, Michael spray painted graffiti on several private homes, a synagogue and a high school. The graffiti included derogatory references about members of the local police department. Michael could be prosecuted for making graffiti as he put graffiti on several pieces of property that he did not own, without the permission of the owners of the property.

Related Offenses
  1. Trespass: New York Penal Law § 140.05
  2. Possession of Graffiti Instruments: New York Penal Law § 145.65
  3. Criminal mischief in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 145.00

Depending on the facts of your case, there are several possible defenses. If you can show that you own the property or that the owner of the property gave you permission, then you would have a defense to a charge of making graffiti.

Another possible defense is that while you did not have the intent of damaging the property but of enhancing property. However, it may be difficult to convince a court that the graffiti you made did indeed enhance the property particularly if you did not have permission from the owner to put graffiti on the property.


Making graffiti is a Class A misdemeanor. Your punishment will be that you will have to spend up to a year in the county jail. However, there is also a good chance that the judge will not sentence you to jail, but will instead sentence you to a 3 year probation term. You may also be required to pay a fine, as well as pay restitution to the owner of the property.

New York Penal Law § 145.60: Making Graffiti
  1. For purposes of this section, the term "graffiti" shall mean the etching, painting, covering, drawing upon or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property with intent to damage such property.

  2. No person shall make graffiti of any type on any building, public or private, or any other property real or personal owned by any person, firm or corporation or any public agency or instrumentality, without the express permission of the owner or operator of said property.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While you may not believe that making graffiti is a big deal, it is a crime. If you are charged with making graffiti you could end up in jail for up to a year and suffer financial consequences. In order to ensure that you receive the best possible defense given the facts of your case, it is important that you are represented by someone who has experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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