If you admire the unique style of graffiti as an art form, then you are not alone. Countless people in Colorado and across the country find graffiti on downtown walls, underpasses and the sides of buildings to be a colorful and interesting artistic expression and form of social commentary. However, not everyone feels this way. If graffiti is a passion of yours, you will need to understand the possible criminal charges you could face for leaving your mark on public property.
It is not for trivial reasons that many people dislike graffiti, from store owners to the general public. Some see the spray-painted scrawlings as unsightly. Others know young people and gang members use graffiti to tag their territory. Building owners do not appreciate graffiti being painted on their property without their permission, especially since they are often required to remove the graffiti at their own expense. For these reasons, if you are caught spraying graffiti unlawfully, you could end up with the following consequences:
- Criminal charges of property destruction and trespassing
- Community service, including cleaning your artwork off the buildings you sprayed
- Being required to pay financial damages
You are probably inspired by the handful of graffiti artists who have achieved celebrity status for their unique artwork. In fact, tourists flock to large cities to see works in person by their favorite graffiti artist, and artists have also had the opportunity to give interviews and have their work featured in official displays. Many areas encourage legal graffiti by designating public graffiti walls, and some property owners give artists express permission to paint on their buildings.
Some communities are beginning to see the value in encouraging artwork on public structures to beautify an otherwise dull landscape and make urban areas more interesting and diverse. This may be a major reason you are attracted to graffiti. However, you need to understand when and where graffiti is allowed to avoid criminal charges.