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Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

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Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

When Does Graffiti Become a Crime in New York City? Penalties

When Does Graffiti Become a Crime in New York City? Penalties

Graffiti art has a complex history in New York City. Once considered solely as vandalism, graffiti began to gain recognition as a legitimate art form in the late 20th century. However, graffiti done without permission is still considered a crime in New York. So when does graffiti become a criminal offense?

Laws Regarding Graffiti in New York City

New York has several laws at both the state and city level that prohibit unauthorized graffiti:

  • New York State Penal Code 145.60 makes it a class A misdemeanor to make graffiti on any public or private property without the owner’s consent. Fines can be up to $1,000 and jail time up to 1 year.
  • New York City Administrative Code 10-117 prohibits unauthorized painting or drawing on both public and private property. This includes spray painting, using markers, scratching glass, applying unauthorized stickers or posters, etc. Fines under this code can be up to $150 per offense.
  • The NYC Transit Authority also has rules prohibiting graffiti on subways or buses. Offenders can be banned from the transit system and face fines of $100 or more.

So in short, any unauthorized writing, scratching, spraying, tagging or drawing on someone else’s property is considered vandalism and can result in fines or arrest in New York City. Even public property like highways, bridges or sidewalks require permission.

Penalties for Graffiti Crimes

The penalties for graffiti crimes in NYC depend on a few key factors:

1. Location of the Graffiti

  • Public Property: Graffiti on public property like highways, trains, buses or government buildings is generally considered more severe with harsher fines and penalties. For example, the NYC transit system can issue fines up to $500 and ban offenders from using public transit.
  • Private Property: Graffiti on private property is still illegal, but penalties may be lower than public locations, especially for minor first-time offenses. Much depends on whether the property owner decides to press charges.

2. Extent of Damage

More extensive graffiti that causes major damage or is difficult to remove can result in felony charges and jail time:

  • Misdemeanor: Small tags or drawings that cause less than $250 in damage are usually a misdemeanor. Fines up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail are possible.
  • Felony: Larger murals, extensive tagging across multiple properties, or damage exceeding $250 value often leads to felony vandalism charges. Jail time can extend to 4 years for a felony.

3. Offender’s Age

  • Adults: Adults age 18+ face the full fines and jail times outlined by NYC graffiti laws.
  • Minors: Those under 18 may be eligible for alternative penalties like community service, counseling or diversion programs instead of fines or jail, especially for first-time offenses.

Defenses Against Graffiti Charges

There are a few defenses that may help fight graffiti charges:

  • Lack of Evidence: If there is no evidence or eyewitness that clearly identifies the accused as the graffiti artist, charges can potentially be dropped. Things like fingerprints, photos, videos and confiscated spray paint cans could provide evidence.
  • Permission: The accused can claim they had verbal or written permission from the property owner to create their artwork. A signed letter from the owner may help prove consent.
  • First Amendment Rights: Though rarely successful, some graffiti artists attempt to claim their work is “artistic free speech” protected under the First Amendment. But graffiti without consent is still considered illegal vandalism.
  • Mistake of Fact: The accused may claim they sincerely but incorrectly believed they had permission or that the property was abandoned. If convincing, this defense could lead to reduced penalties.

Should I Hire an Attorney for Graffiti Charges?

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can often negotiate reduced penalties for graffiti crimes compared to representing yourself. They may also spot potential issues with the prosecution’s case or defenses you can use.

While hiring a private attorney can be expensive, going through the public defender’s office is an alternative option that bases fees on your ability to pay. Public defenders are often overburdened but still provide legal counsel on graffiti cases.

Graffiti Alternatives in New York City

For those wanting to create graffiti legally, New York does have some options:

  • Many businesses commission graffiti artists to decorate their storefronts, restaurants or other private property. As long as the owner provides written consent, this type of commercial graffiti is perfectly legal.
  • Certain public areas like basketball courts and skate parks have designated “graffiti zones” for legal artwork. However, strict rules still apply for what mediums and locations in the zone are permissible.
  • Temporary art events like the Figment Festival on Governors Island allow graffiti creation on specified surfaces. But the art does get cleaned up after the event ends.

So in summary, graffiti without consent remains illegal in NYC regardless of artistic merit. Fines, arrest and even jail time are possible depending on the specifics of each case. For those wanting to create graffiti legally, commercial projects, designated graffiti zones and temporary art events provide possible alternative outlets. Consulting with a lawyer can also help understand exact penalties and any defenses that apply.


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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

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It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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