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Although you might not think that you're hurting someone's property by spray-painting your initials or a picture on the side of it, the owner of the property could feel differently about it. In fact, the owner – and the police for that matter – might see such an act as vandalism. Vandalism – i.e., the destruction, defacing or harming of someone else's property – is illegal and those who are found guilty of the offense will face various criminal punishments.

If you're not sure what constitutes vandalism under the law, here are a few examples of the crime:

  1. Intentionally throwing a rock into a neighbor's window and breaking it
  2. Spray-painting the side of a building with your initials or spray-painting your favorite design on a street sign
  3. Ripping the picture off a billboard
  4. Drawing a mustache and glasses on a poster next to a bus stop
  5. Using a permanent marker to draw on a bathroom stall
  6. Painting graffiti on a sidewalk

Many who commit the crime of vandalism see themselves as graffiti artists and they might – indeed – be creating beautiful art. To make matters more confusing, some graffiti artists are revered and respected even though they began their art careers as vandals and may even have been arrested and convicted of the crime on multiple occasions. Yes, in many cases the line between art and vandalism can be blurred. Call it what you wish. If you've changed the appearance of someone else's property or in some way harmed the property without permission from the owner, then a criminal court will likely find you guilty of vandalism.

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There are too many reasons to name that could result in someone facing criminal allegations. For one, it's hard to keep track of everything that's illegal these days, and one false move could land you facing criminal charges. Secondly, numerous individuals get arrested and accused of crimes they didn't commit. Regardless of your situation, if you're facing criminal charges, it's time to familiarize yourself with the various criminal defense strategies that might apply to your situation.

Here are two common criminal defenses that – depending on the facts and circumstances of your case – might help your situation:

1. The admit and explain story: Using the "admit and explain" defense, a defendant will admit to the physical act the prosecution has accused them of performing. However, the defendant will offer additional explanations to reveal why the action wasn't a crime.

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Would you know what to do if you're accused of shoplifting? Would you run and hope that you get away? Would you stay where you are, explain yourself and pray that everything works out?

Although shoplifting is not the most serious crime, it can still lead to a serious punishment. This is particularly true in the event that you are convicted of shoplifting an expensive item, such as jewelry.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you're facing a shoplifting accusation:

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Two black men were at a Philadelphia Starbucks waiting to have a business meeting when police entered the premises and demanded that the men leave. A Starbucks employee had called the authorities, asking police to remove the men, who the Starbucks employee claimed had not purchased any coffee and refused to exit the premises when asked.

Police arrived and an ugly, racially-motivated arrest ensued, all while others in the cafe watched and videotaped the incident. Police questioned the men, asking them why they were there, and they answered that they were waiting for someone to arrive for a business meeting.

The incident, which went viral on the internet, has sparked nationwide protests against Starbucks. Even the CEO of Starbucks has issued a formal apology to the men and closed down Starbucks stores for training intended to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.

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Nunchucks, a.k.a "nunchaku" are usually two wooden sticks or two metal pieces of pipes connected by a rope or chain on one end. They are used by martial artists and other weapons enthusiasts as protection in many cases. They are also classified under Wisconsin law as "dangerous weapons." Therefore, much as someone tries to tell an officer that they're just two pieces of wood connected by a rope, nunchucks will definitely be viewed as dangerous weapons by the police and, therefore, they will be subject to specific rules and regulations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about dangerous weapons and nunchaku in Wisconsin:

  • In terms of carrying and possessing nunchucks, the law reads as follows: "No person may carry, possess or use any dangerous weapon, except with the written approval of the chief of police or his or her designee or for law enforcement purposes. Dangerous weapons not approved by the chief of police may be confiscated by a police officer."
  • Furthermore, may not conceal your nunchaku. They must be visible unless you are a police officer. Nunchaku may only be displayed or sold if the chief of police has approved the seller to vend such items.

If you own nunchaku and you want to prevent getting in trouble with the authorities you may want to study up on what Wisconsin law says about this dangerous weapon. Knowing the law as it applies to carrying and possessing weapons in the state will help ensure that you follow the rules and avoid getting in trouble with the police.

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