Is Graffiti Illegal In Australia?

Graffiti Illegal

Any act of graffiti in Australia is illegal unless the owner of the property, the local court or the private property owner gives permission to do so.


The Australian Institute of Criminology has stated that graffiti vandalism is not limited to its offenders. The illegal act is most commonly conducted by males aged between 12-25 years and peaking at the ages of 15 and 16, it is equally committed by those across all social backgrounds and is not exclusive to lower socio-economic classes. Graffiti can occur on public transport and reporting of graffiti is usually done to a police officer or the local council.

What is Graffiti?

Under the law, graffiti offences include:


  • marking premises or property
  • possession of graffiti implement
  • posting bills.


In addition, graffiti implements include the following:


  • spray paint
  • marker pens
  • any implement designed or modified to produce a mark that is not readily removable by use of water or detergent.

Is Graffiti Art Illegal?

Any act of graffiti even if it is street art is illegal, unless authorised by the Local Council.


The first thing to consider when dealing with public art is whether the work was created with or without the permission of the property owner or local council.


Street artists often start out by creating unauthorised works on property visible to the public, such as walls and buildings. After developing their techniques and reputation, some artists move on to creating commissioned (or authorised) pieces for property owners, private business or government organisations.


Street artists should be aware that their art may lead to legal issues, such as criminal charges, if permission from the property owner is not acquired.


Obtaining permission for an artwork will reduce the risk of legal consequences. You may find some local councils that have programs to help artists locate building owners willing to host artwork. Contact your local council directly to obtain this information.

Defences to Graffiti Charges

A person faced with a graffiti charge of marking premises or property in NSW will have the charge dismissed if any one of the following defences apply:


  • The person accused was acting under duress or necessity.
  • If the marking was on a public footpath or pavement with chalk.
  • If the marking was on a public footpath or pavement with a chalk to mark out a hopscotch or handball court.

Penalties for illegal Graffiti

Penalties for graffiti is covered by the Graffiti Control Act 2008 (NSW). the following penalties can be applied by NSW courts:


  • Marking property can attract a fine up to $440, or, for an aggravated offence, $2,200 or 12 months imprisonment
  • Possessing a graffiti implement with intent can attract a fine up to $1,100 or six months imprisonment
  • Persons under 18 years carrying spray paint cans in public can attract a find of up to $440 or six months imprisonment
  • Bill posting can attract a fine of up to $440.
  • A court may also impose a community service order, instead of a fine, for damaging or defacing property, or for possession of a graffiti implement, directing the offender to perform community service work that involves graffiti clean up work where practicable.
  • Under the Act, the court may, in addition to or instead of imposing a fine on a person, make a driver licence order. This means that a person who is on there L or P plate driver licence extended for up to 6 months.


In addition to the above penalties, there are laws under the NSW Crimes Act (1900), which carry penalties of up to five years in prison for maliciously damaging property.


Most Australian States and Territories have laws which authorise the removal of ‘graffiti’. The removal is often done at the request of the owner of the building or property on which the artwork is located. Some local councils have a specific service for business owners to request the removal of street art or graffiti from their premises. These laws also often authorise the removal of street art without the consent of the property owner.


If you have been charged with a graffiti offence, you should speak to a top criminal defence lawyer and obtain legal advice.

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    If the police have charged you or a loved one, you must attend court. Appearing in court for a criminal charge is usually daunting. Let us help you make the process easier. Here are 10 reasons to choose our team of criminal lawyers from Lyons Law Group;


    Result-focused criminal lawyers 


    Our team will work to achieve the best result for you in the shortest time possible. However, we do aim to provide quality over quantity service to you. Our criminal lawyers appear in all criminal and traffic matters, including trials, sentencing, bail applications, and apprehended violence orders. We are a result-focused firm of lawyers.

    At Lyons Law, we do not make any unrealistic promises for results. You will be advised on the most realistic results achievable in your case, including acquittals of all charges against you. Nevertheless, you can be sure that our team will work extremely hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you.


    Proven Track Record


    Our experienced defence lawyers are passionate about representing their clients and achieving the best outcome. Lyons Law is a team of solicitors who are dedicated, and with our support staff, you can be confident of the highest quality of legal representation. We have an exceptional track record of results. We provide our outstanding client service at an affordable rate for our clients.


    Fixed Fees


    We always let our clients know how much their cases will cost from the beginning. This makes it easier for them to decide whether or not they want to proceed with the case. Not only do we offer fixed fees for many types of criminal cases and services, but also free first phone consultations. In addition, our firm offers fixed fees applicable to a wide range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, fraud, drug possession, assault, and AVOs.


    Free First Conference


    For all of those individuals who are going to court, we offer a free first 15-minute phone conference with one of our senior criminal defence lawyer. It is best you email our office all your relevant documents before a conference so criminal lawyers can provide the best advice within that time frame.


    Highly experienced criminal defence lawyer


    Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of criminal lawyers. Our team is led by Mohammad Khan, who is one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney. He has represented clients in some of Australia’s most high-profile cases and was under the direct tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda.


    Moreover, our team has worked and successfully represented clients on highly complex trials and sentences in NSW.


    Work closely with Australia’s leading criminal law barrister


    We work closely with some of Australia’s leading criminal law barristers. Barristers are usually instructed in more serious matters, and their experience and input can be invaluable to your case. The barristers we regularly instruct range from Queen’s counsels, Senior counsels and highly experienced junior-senior counsels.


    Specialist for District and Supreme Court trials


    Our team of sydney criminal lawyers have worked on numerous District and Supreme Court trials in NSW. We have worked on extremely complex criminal law trials that require impeccable preparation and understanding of the law.


    Specialist for bail applications in NSW


    Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of bail lawyers. We have regularly obtained bail for clients for extremely serious charges that carry life sentences. For types of charges, bail is usually denied by a Court.


    In house Experts


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    For the preparation of jury trials and defended hearings, these services can be utilised on behalf of our client to achieve the best result.


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    From Broken Hill to Waverly, our criminal lawyers appear in all courts throughout New South Wales.


    If you wish to contact us or book your first free 15-minute phone conference, contact us on 0404479096 or send us an email at info@lyonslaw.com.au.

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    • Lyons Law Group | Criminal Defence Lawyers

      Lyons Law Group is a boutique firm of expert criminal solicitors and barristers. Lyons Law Group is dedicated to strong advocacy when representing its clients with an approach that is tailored to every client’s specific needs.