LUFKIN - What seems like a harmless act of mischief and is many times committed by juveniles can mean an arrest and fines when it comes to defacing a road sign.
According to the Texas Penal Code, it is against the law to damage a traffic control device, including a road sign, railroad sign or crossing, traffic control signal or any other device owned by the state to direct the movement of transportation.
"Signs have been damaged recently in parts of the Lufkin District and we want to ask the public that if they see something happening that appears to be someone shooting a sign or defacing state property, to call law enforcement," said Rhonda Oaks, public spokesperson for the Lufkin District. "Defacing or destroying signs puts motorists in danger and the damage can cause disruption or impairment of public communication and transportation."
Defacing state property and/or traffic control devices can carry stiff penalties, depending on the amount and type of damage.
A person commits a Class C misdemeanor if the damage is less than $100; a Class B misdemeanor if the damage is between $100 and $750; a Class A misdemeanor if the loss is greater than $750 but less than $2,500.
A person commits a state jail felony if the loss is more than $2,500 but less than $30,000 and if the damage is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon; if the damage includes the loss of property such as a habitation, fence, or the loss of farm or exotic animals.