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How much trouble can you get into for keying a car in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Theft & Property Crimes

You’re not just angry — you’re furious. You just found a pile of messages between your boyfriend and another woman, and you feel like you were played for a fool.

You have half a mind to “key” his car all the way down to the metal so that he gets a very big message about how you feel — and a very big bill to remember you by.

Don’t do it. In Maryland, that’s not the sort of thing the authorities take lightly.

Keying a car is considered the malicious destruction of property

Vandalism of this sort falls under Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Section 6-301, and it’s defined as any act that “willfully and maliciously” damages or destroys another person’s real property.

The penalty for malicious destruction of property is graded, meaning that the offense is treated differently based on the dollar amount of the damage you may have done. If the damage was less than $1,000, the crime is a misdemeanor offense that can net you a fine of $500 and up to 60 days in jail.

If the damage is over $1,000 (a threshold that could easily be met if you score the paint pretty deeply and cover enough area), you could be looking at a $2,500 fine and three years in prison. It’s not worth it. Your act of revenge might give you momentary satisfaction but a whole lot of additional heartache later.

If you’re accused of keying someone’s car, don’t make the situation worse

Whether you made a mistake or you’re falsely accused, your legal peril is real. Invoke your right to remain silent until you better understand the evidence against you and have a chance to discuss all of your defense options.