In the early morning hours of May 7th, deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station responded to a call about a physical altercation taking place among a group of men in Saugus. Upon arriving on the scene, deputies discovered that the windshield of the victim’s car, as well as their garage door, had been damaged during the fight. Two men, T. Curry, of Saugus, and T. White, of Canyon Country, were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism. Both men were taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing and were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Felony Vandalism is covered under California Penal Code 594 PC and is described as damaging, destroying, or defacing with graffiti, property that belongs to someone else. Vandalism can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history as well as the monetary value of the damage that was done to the property. If the damage to the property was less than $400, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 (or $5,000 if the defendant has a prior vandalism conviction), and/or informal probation.
If the damage to the property is valued at $400 or over, vandalism becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The criteria upon which the severity of the charge rests includes the defendant’t prior criminal history and the circumstances of the case. When the damage to the property is valued at $400 or more, and the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant faces up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of $10,000 (or $50,000 if the damage done as valued at more than $10,000), and/or summary probation. If the damage to the property is valued at $400 or more and the crime is charged as a felony, the possible penalties include probation with up to 1 year in county jail OR 16 months to 3 years in county jail, as well as the same fines and probation conditions as described in the misdemeanor charge.