New graffiti laws for SA have been announced. If you want to know about graffiti laws in South Australia, send us a Lawmail.
What is graffiti?
Graffiti is when you damage the appearance of a property in any way, including by writing, drawing, marking, scratching, etching or posting something on any property (for example, a building, a pole or a vehicle).
Is graffiti illegal?
It is possible to create graffiti legally. For example, if it is on private property and you have the permission of the owner or it is a legal graffiti space. Check with your local council about legal graffiti spaces.
Graffiti is against the law when you do not have permission to do it from either the owner of the property or the local council. It is also against the law to graffiti on public transport in the Adelaide area (usually run by Adelaide Metro) and its premises (such as a train station or bus stop).
It is also against the law to help, assist or encourage someone else to do graffiti. The penalty for helping or encouraging someone else to do graffiti is the same as the penalty for actually doing it yourself.
Can I buy spray paint?
If you are under 18, it is against the law for anyone to sell you a spray paint can. The seller may be fined up to $1,250. This means that a shop assistant can ask you for identification to prove you are over 18 if you want to buy spray paint. If you can’t prove you are 18, the shop assistant may refuse to sell you spray paint.
Can I carry a graffiti tool?
It is not against the law to carry graffiti tools (like a spray paint can) if you can prove that you have a lawful reason – for example, if you need it for your job. It is against the law to carry any graffiti tools with the intention to use them to create illegal graffiti.
It is also against the law to carry a spray paint can or a tool that can make a permanent mark that is more than 15mm wide, in a public place or in a private place where you are not allowed to be.
Can I be stopped and searched for graffiti tools?
A police officer may stop, search and detain you if they reasonably think you have a graffiti tool that will be used to create illegal graffiti. For more information about police searches, see “What powers do the police have”.
Can the police confiscate my graffiti tool?
Yes, the police will be able to take your
graffiti tool (such as a spray paint can), if it is against the law for you to
be carrying it. For more information about police powers to confiscate, see
“What powers do the police have”.
What happens if I’ve been caught carrying graffiti tools, or doing illegal graffiti by the police?
If you are under 18, the police may:
a) Give you an informal caution;
b) Issue a formal caution;
c) Require you to do community service or pay compensation for the damage you have created;
d) Require you to attend Family Conferences;
e) Charge you. This means you will have to go to court.
What are the penalties for graffiti crimes?
If you are under 18 and you are charged with a graffiti crime and then found guilty, depending on the case a court can:
a) Make you clean up the graffiti;
b) Make you pay compensation to the person whose property you did the graffiti on;
c) Give you a fine. The amount of the fine will depend on the circumstances;
For more information about going to Court, see “Courtstuff”
This information was last updated 10 July 2013.