Graffiti and Vandalism
Guide to Laws about Graffiti and Vandalism in Los Angeles
How does the city of Los Angeles define graffiti?
Graffiti (aka tagging), though some may consider it “street art,” in Los Angeles means “any form of unauthorized inscription, word, figure or design which is marked, etched, scratched, drawn, sprayed, painted or otherwise affixed to or on any surface of public or private property, including but not limited to, buildings, walls, signs, structures or places, or other surfaces, regardless of the nature of the material of that structural component.”1LAMC 49.84.2
What are the penalties for graffiti or vandalism?
In California, depending on the value of the damage, graffiti or vandalism can lead to up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $50,000. If a minor is responsible for the graffiti or vandalism and can’t pay the fine, the parents must pay it.2Penal Code 594
If your child creates graffiti anywhere within the city of LA, you are responsible to pay the cleanup and repair costs.4LAMC 49.84.9 If you are unable or unwilling to pay, you may be permitted or required to do community service and attend parenting classes instead.5LAMC 49.84.10(F) See our Guide to Laws for Parents.
Is it illegal just to hold a spray paint can or etching cream?
Am I allowed to make graffiti on my own property or allow others to do graffiti on my property?
How can I get graffiti removed?
Do graffiti artists have any rights to their art?
If it’s done legally, then yes. If it’s illegal, probably not. See our Guide to Laws for Artists.