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Graffiti is intentionally marking any premises or other property (for example, a building, a tree, or a vehicle) with:
On this page, we call this “permanent graffiti”.
Sticking up signs, posters, or paper, on property that can be seen from a public place is related to graffiti. On this page, we call this “temporary graffiti”.
It is possible to create graffiti legally. For example, it would be legal if you have the permission of the owner or person in charge of the property, or if the graffiti was done with lawful authority (e.g. it is in a space designated as a legal graffiti space). You can check with your local council to see if there are any legal graffiti spaces near you.
If you don’t have the permission of the owner or your local council, it is against the law to create permanent or temporary graffiti on a person’s property or public property.
If you are under 18, it is against the law for anyone to sell or supply a spray paint can to you. They may be fined up to $1100. 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 cannot produce identification, the shop assistant may refuse to sell you spray paint.
If you are under 18 it is against the law to have a spray paint can in your possession in a public place, and you can be fined up to $1100 or jailed for up to six months. However, if you can show that you have a proper (and legal) reason to carry the spray paint can, for example, if it’s for your job or education or training, then it is not against the law.
It is also against the law for you to carry any tool for permanent graffiti (like a marker pen or a tool to make scratches) if you intend to mark someone’s property without their permission.
Yes, but only in certain circumstances. The police can stop and search you if they think that you are carrying something that has been used or will be used for illegal activity, like illegal graffiti. For more information about police searches see our page on Police.
If you are under 18 (or the police think you are under 18), the police can confiscate your spray can unless you can show you have it for a legal reason (such as you need it for your job, education or training). The police do not have to charge you with any offence to confiscate your spray can. However, the police must explain to you their reasons for confiscating your spray can.
If the Police do take your spray can they are allowed to throw it away if it is partly used or of very little value. If they do not throw it away, the police will keep it at the police station for at least seven days. You can make a claim for a return of the spray can from that police station if you are over 18 or you can prove that you had the spray can for a legal reason. If you do not make a claim within 7 days, the spray can will be thrown away.
For other graffiti tools, the police can confiscate them if they think you have used them or will use them for illegal activity, like illegal graffiti. For more information about Police powers to confiscate see our page on Police.
Depending on the circumstances and exactly what you’ve been charged with, if you are under 18 the police may:
For some graffiti crimes, the law says the police cannot just give you a warning, a caution or make you go to a youth justice conference. This means you will most likely be charged and you will have to go to Court.
For more information about being charged with an offence, see our page on Criminal Law.
If you are charged for a graffiti crime and are found guilty, then depending on the case, a Court may:
As well as ordering you to pay a fine and/or ordering you to do community service, a Court might also make a Driver Licence Order. A Court can either:
If you don’t comply with a driver licence order, your licence could be suspended.
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