Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm a teenager and I spray paint used cars which I legally obtain as a hobby, and sometimes I enter my work into art shows. I was walking home one day from with my spray cans and the police stopped me, and upon finding my spray cans, charged me with a graffiti vandalism offence: Can they do that?

Police may seize a spray paint can in the possession of a person in a public place if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person is under 18 years of age, and unless the person satisfies the officer that the possession of the spray paint does not constitute an offence under the relevant criminal legislation.

If the police decide to go through with the graffiti vandalism charge, the police must prove:

  • the accused is in possession of a graffiti instrument reasonably expected of having been used for graffiti;
  • the accused is in possession of a graffiti instrument being used for graffiti; or
  • the accused is in possession of a graffiti instrument suspected of being about to be used for graffiti.

The possible defences to the offence of possessing a graffiti instrument include, but are not limited to:

  • the accused was not in possession of the graffiti instrument; or
  • the graffiti instrument in the person's possession was not connected to any involvement by the person in the preparation of the offence, or in any criminal responsibility in relation to the offence.
If you are in trouble with a graffiti vandalism offence, it is always recommended that you speak to a lawyer in regards to your matter.

Findlaw

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