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Vandalism in Ohio: Railroads versus general vandalism

When you think of vandalism, you might imagine a person painting graffiti on a wall or damaging a neighbor's plants. Usually, it's something seen as a juvenile crime, but that's not always the reality. Depending on the kind of damage caused, a person can face a felony for vandalizing a property.

For example, if you vandalize a property and cause significant harm to it or create a risk of harm to people who use that property, you could be charged with a fourth-degree felony. If you cause serious physical harm to someone as a result of your actions, you'll face a second-degree felony. For simple physical harm, you'll face a third-degree felony.

Yes, there are times when vandalism only leads to a misdemeanor. For example, vandalizing a vehicle, railroad crossing device or railroad car is typically a misdemeanor in Ohio. Vandalism involving a railroad is different than general vandalism and falls under a different section of law in Ohio.

Vandalism not involving a railroad or vehicle is normally a fifth-degree felony with fines of up to $2,500, but this could be a more serious felony if there is heavier damage to a property.

Vehicular and railroad vandalism is normally a first-degree misdemeanor, but not always. For example, there was a case where juveniles threw items as passing vehicles and badly hurt a woman in Ohio. That is a felony now as a result of her significant injuries.

It's a good idea to defend your case if you're accused of vandalism. Depending on the circumstances, you could face serious penalties and fines.

Source: FindLaw, "Ohio Vandalism Laws," accessed May 22, 2018

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