Graffiti is damaging or making a mark on property, such as buildings, poles or vehicles. It can include writing, marking, drawing, spraying, etching or scratching on any property with a spray can or marker pen.
Generally, graffiti is against the law, with penalties being a fine of $24,000 and imprisonment for 2 years. However, there are ways to create graffiti legally, for example, if you have the consent of the owner or it is a space designated as a legal graffiti space. Check with your local council about these spaces.
If you don’t have the permission of the owner or your local council, it is against the law to create graffiti on a person’s property or public property, or on something that is visible to the public and is considered to be unsightly or offensive by the local government and does not remove the graffiti when given notice to.
A graffiti implement is spray paint or certain marker pens, including permanent markers with a tip over 6mm wide.
If you are under 18, it is against the law for someone to sell you a graffiti implement. If you want to buy a graffiti implement, the shop assistant can ask you for photo identification to prove you are over 18. If you cannot prove you are over 18, the shop assistant may refuse to sell you the graffiti tool.
It is against the law for you to be carrying anything that you could use to make illegal graffiti with the intent of doing so. This could be a marker pen or spray paint, but could also be things like a pocket knife or a nail.
Yes, but only in certain circumstances. For example, if the police think that you are carrying something that is related to illegal graffiti (such as spray cans or thick permanent markers), they may search you. For more information about Police searches see our page on “What powers do the police have”.
Yes. The police may take your spray paint, marker pen or other tool if they think you have used it, or will use it, to do illegal graffiti.
Depending on the circumstances and exactly what you’ve been charged with, if you are under 18 the police may:
For more information about warnings, cautions, youth justice conferences and being charged with an offence, see our web pages on “Youth Justice” and “Criminal Law”.
If you are under 18 and are charged and found guilty of making illegal graffiti or illegally carrying a graffiti tool, then depending on the case, a court can:
You may also be given a combination of punishments – such as a fine and a community work order.
For more information about these penalties, see “Youth Justice System”. For more information about going to court, see our page on “Court stuff”.Last reviewed 13 July 2017
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