HB 883

84(R) - 2015
House Criminal Jurisprudence
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Joe Moody

Bill Caption

Relating to the punishment for the offense of graffiti and the creation of a graffiti pretrial diversion program; authorizing a fee.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

The bill would amend the Penal Code, reducing the punishment for the offense of graffiti, and creates a graffiti pretrial diversion program.

This bill creates:

  • Class C misdemeanor for damage less than $50.
  • Pecuniary loss for a graffiti offense on a school, institution of higher education, place of worship or human burial, public monument, or a community center would be a minimum of $500 in order to result in a state jail felony.
  • A district attorney,criminal district attorney, or county attorney would be authorized to collect a fee of up to $500 to reimburse the county for expenses related to the pretrial diversion program.

Vote Recommendation Notes

We support this legislation under the limited government and personal responsibility principle. This bill reduces the criminal penalty from a Class B misdemeanor to a class C misdemeanor, but also creates a diversion program that can be implemented that would remove graffiti charges once completed. The program would include graffiti removal, include outreach education focused on graffiti prevention and eradication, youth mentoring in art-based programs, mural painting, or another form of community service, and make restitution to the owner of the property on which the defendant made markings. Forms of reimbursement include: reimbursing the owner of the property for the cost of restoring the property, personally restoring the property by removing or painting over any markings the defendant made, if given permission by the property owner. 

We support this legislation for making the criminal punishment fit the crime more effectively, and offer an alternative to jail time through a diversion program to allow those guilty to take responsibility for their behavior in a more productive and beneficial way.