Is graffiti illegal?
It is possible to create graffiti legally. For example, if it is on private property and you have the consent of the owner or it is a space designated as legal graffiti space. Check with your local council about these spaces.
However, it is illegal to make any kind of mark on a bus, bus station or bus sign. It is illegal to make a mark on a public building, wall or fence. It is also illegal to put up a poster on a public wall or building without consent.
It is also illegal to criminally damage property. This can include graffiti.
Councils can also make rules about graffiti. For example, Darwin City Council and has made a rule that make it against the law to intentionally damage, mark, write or draw on any part of a building, wall or vehicle. Check with your council about these rules.
What about possessing a graffiti tool?
There is no law in the NT that makes it illegal to possess a graffiti tool, such as spray paint. However, you should check with your local council about any rules about possessing graffiti tools.
What happens if the Police catch you writing Graffiti?
The police may:
a) Give you a warning;
b) Require you to attend Youth Justice Conferencing;
c) Require you to attend a diversion program;
d) Arrest you and charge you with an offence if you continue to do the graffiti on the bus or bus property after being told that you might be arrested.
Can the Police stop you and take your spray paint?
The police can only confiscate your spray paint if they have a warrant (a document from a court authorising it) or the circumstances are so serious and urgent and they suspect the spray paint is connected with a crime.
If I am guilty of a graffiti offence, what are the penalties?
If you are under the age of 10 you cannot be charged with an offence.
If you are found guilty, then depending on the case a court can:
a) Give you a fine. The amount of the fine will depend on the circumstances;
b) Refer you to a youth justice conference;
c) Refer you to a diversion program;
d) Send you to prison. Prison will be a last resort and only where no other penalty is appropriate.
If a Court gives you a penalty other than a youth justice conference or a diversion program, the penalties will depend where the graffiti was and how serious it is.
Can I buy spray paint?
There is no law that makes it illegal for you to buy spray paint.
This information was last updated 22 July 2010.