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 against the law to graffiti something that is public property or that is visible to the public unless you have permission.
What about possessing a graffiti tool?
It is against the law to posses a graffiti instrument (such as a spray can or a pen, or marker or anything similar that has a tip more than 6mm wide and that can mark a surface, but cannot be washed off with water).
What happens if the Police catch you?
Depending on the circumstances, the police may:
a) Give you a caution;
b) Confiscate your spray paint or marker you used for the graffiti;
c) Charge you with an offence;
d) Issue you with a notice to attend court.
Can the Police stop you and take your spray paint?
The police may take your spray paint, marker pen or another tool you have used to do graffiti. You may be able to get it back, but only if it is something you are legally allowed to have. For example, if you had a texta, marker or any other tool that you are legally allowed to have taken from you by the police, then they must allow you to collect it 48 hours after they took it from you and after they have given you a caution.
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:
· Put you on a good behaviour bond - this means you get no punishment. However, if you commit another crime within one year you will get a much worse punishment.
· Make a responsible adult give security and promise to make sure that you won’t commit another offence for one year.
· Give you a community work order - this may include making you remove the graffiti.
· Order you to pay compensation or pay for the cost of the graffiti removal.
· Give you a fine. The amount of the fine will depend on the circumstances.
· Send you to jail for a maximum period of three years. However this is a last resort and only in serious cases.
· You may have a combination of punishments - such as a fine and imprisonment or community service order.
For more information about types of orders the Court can make, see Children’s Court.
Can I buy spray paint?
If you are under 18, it is illegal for someone to sell you spray paint and certain marker pens which are to be used for graffiti. These marker pens include pens which have a tip over 6mm wide, contain fluid that can’t be washed off with water, and are capable of marking a surface.This information was last updated 16 July 2010.