Austin, Texas
April 5, 2009

Honorable Pete Gallego, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB3342 by Bohac (Relating to certain criminal penalties for and civil consequences of damaging property with graffiti.), As Introduced

The bill would amend the Penal and Transportation Codes as they relate to the criminal penalties and civil consequences of damaging property with graffiti. Under the provisions of the bill an individual previously convicted two or more times of graffiti who also caused a pecuniary loss of any amount less than $20,000 would be punished as a state jail felon. The bill would also amend the Penal Code to allow for any offense under Section 28.08, Penal Code to be enhanced to a third degree felony if the person is found to have also engaged in organized criminal activity. Under current statute, graffiti is punishable at all levels and is based on the amount of pecuniary loss.

In fiscal year 2008, approximately 174 persons were placed on community supervision (42 felony and 132 misdemeanor), approximately 29 persons were admitted to state jail, and one person was admitted to prison for the offense of graffiti. The provision of the bill providing for penalty enhancement of any offenses under Section 28.08, Penal Code, if it is found the person was also engaging in organized criminal activity is likely to have an impact on county and state corrections agencies with the greatest impact coming from those offenses where punishment is enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony. In calendar year 2007, 303 of the 2,513 persons arrested for the offense of graffiti were arrested for graffiti punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and 15 of the 303 persons were also arrested for engaging in organized criminal activity. Based on arrest history data, direct court sentencing trends, and revocation rates, approximately 14 percent of the individuals would be sentenced to a term of incarceration in a state jail and approximately 21 percent of the individuals would be placed under felony community supervision annually as a result of the provision providing penalty enhancement for previous graffiti convictions.

Assuming sentencing patterns and release policies not addressed in this bill remain constant, the probable impact of implementing the provisions of the bill during each of the first five years following passage, in terms of daily demand upon the adult corrections agencies, is estimated as follows:

Fiscal Year Increase in Demand for Felony Community Supervision Increase in Demand for State Jail Capacity
2010 26 18
2011 26 16
2012 24 14
2013 22 12
2014 22 11

Source Agencies:
LBB Staff: