Going After Graffiti

The city of San Marcos, Texas, near Austin, plans harsher measures to crack down on graffiti, including holding a minor's parents responsible and banning certain graffiti-making tools.
February 10, 2009, 7am PST | Larry Schooler
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"The proposal would make it a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of as much as $500, to have items such as permanent markers or cans of spray paint within 10 feet of bridges and other public infrastructure and on school or other public property after hours. Police officers would determine whether a person caught with banned material has the intent to make graffiti.

'We specifically say (in the proposal that) an officer has to ask you: 'Why do you have those down here? What are you doing with them?' Police Chief Howard Williams said. 'If you can give him a legitimate reason, then OK. If not, he's going to confiscate your markers and write you a ticket.'

Graffiti is a misdemeanor under state law, punishable by fines up to $4,000 and six months to one year in jail. However, it's a felony to put graffiti on schools, places of worship, cemeteries, public monuments or community centers, and such an offense carries fines of up to $10,000 and two to 99 years in jail, depending on the amount of damage. Three bills have been introduced in the Legislature concerning graffiti, including one that would make it illegal for someone previously charged with or convicted of felony graffiti to be caught with spray paint or other graffiti implements.

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Published on Monday, February 9, 2009 in Austin American-Statesman
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