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Roanoke City Code Section 21-25. Willful damage to or defacement of public or private facilities

(a) Defacement defined. Defacement means the unauthorized application by any means of any writing, painting, drawing, etching, scratching, or marking of an inscription, word, mark, figure or design of any type.


(b) Violation and penalty. It shall be unlawful and a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to willfully and maliciously damage or deface any public buildings, facilities and personal property or any private buildings, facilities and personal property. The punishment for any such violation in which the defacement is (i) more than twenty (20) feet off the ground, (ii) on a railroad or highway overpass, or (iii) committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, as that term is defined by section 18.2-46.1, Code of Virginia, shall include a mandatory minimum fine of five hundred dollars ($500.00).


(c) Community service.


1) Upon a finding of guilt in any case tried before the court without a jury, if the violation of this section constitutes a first offense which results in property damage or loss, the court, without entering a judgment of guilt, upon motion of the defendant, may defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation pending completion of a plan of community service work. If the defendant fails or refuses to complete the community service as ordered by the court, the court may make final disposition of the case and proceed as otherwise provided. If the community service work is completed as the court prescribes, the court may discharge the defendant and dismiss the proceedings against him. Discharge and dismissal under this section shall be without adjudication of guilt and is a conviction only for the purposes of applying this section in subsequent proceedings.


(2) Any community service ordered or directed for a violation of subsection (b) shall, to the extent feasible, include the repair, restoration or replacement of any damage or defacement to property within the city and may include clean-up, beautification, landscaping or other appropriate community service within the city. A designee of the city manager shall supervise the performance of any community service work required and shall report thereon to the court imposing such requirement. At or before the time of sentencing, the court shall receive and consider any plan for making restitution or performing community service submitted by the defendant. The court shall also receive and consider the recommendations of the supervisor of community service in the city concerning the plan.


(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person convicted of a violation of this section shall be placed on probation or have his sentence suspended unless such person shall make at least partial restitution for such property damage or is compelled to perform community services, or both, as is more particularly set forth in Code of Virginia section 19.2-305.1.


(d) Authority of city to remove or repair.


(1) The city manager is authorized to undertake or contract for the removal or repair of the defacement of any public building, wall, fence or other structure or any private building, wall, fence or other structure where such defacement is visible from any public right-of-way.


(2) Prior to such removal, the city manager shall give notice to the owner and lessee, if any, of any private building or facility that has been defaced that, within fifteen (15) days of receipt of such notice, if the owner or lessee does not clean or cover the defacement or object to the removal of the defacements, the city may clean, cover, or repair the defacement.


(3) Except as provided herein, all such removal or repair, unless undertaken by the property owner, shall be at the expense of the city; provided however, that the removal or repair work may be undertaken by volunteers or individuals required to perform community service by order of any court, under appropriate city supervision.


(4) If the defacement occurs on a public or private building, wall, fence, or other structure located on an unoccupied property, and the city, through its own agents or employees, removes or repairs the defacement and after complying with the notice provisions of this section, the actual cost or expenses thereof shall be chargeable to and paid by the owners of such property and may be collected by the city as taxes are collected.


(5) Every charge authorized by this section with which the owner of any such property shall have been assessed and that remains unpaid shall constitute a lien against such property, ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid local taxes and enforceable in the same manner as provided in Articles 3 (§ 58.1-3940 et seq.) and 4 (§ 58.1-3965 et seq.) of Chapter 39 of Title 58.1, Code of Virginia. The director of finance may waive and release such liens in order to facilitate the sale of the property. Such liens may be waived only as to a purchaser who is unrelated by blood or marriage to the owner and who has no business association with the owner. All such liens shall remain a personal obligation of the owner of the property at the time the liens were imposed.


(6) The court may order any person convicted of unlawfully defacing property described in subsection (b) to pay full or partial restitution to the city for costs incurred by the city in removing or repairing the defacement.


(7) An order of restitution pursuant to this section shall be docketed as provided in section 8.01-446, Code of Virginia, when so ordered by the court or upon written request of the city and may be enforced by the city in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.


Updated 9/26/2014 9:38 AM
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