Thursday, October 16, 2008

Political Yard Signs Targeted in Austin


We are only nineteen days away from the culmination of the political circus that happens every four years in this country. Our nation will elect either Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. We watched the final debate in a series of three last night and our television screens have been filled with an endless barrage of campaign commercials (well, maybe not as much here in Texas as in Ohio or Florida). Supporters on both sides are passionate and want everyone to know who they think will make the better leader. One way this support is demonstrated is through planting yard signs in our front lawns. However, as occurs during every election, destruction or stealing of these signs by the opposition is inevitable.

In Austin, police have received twenty-nine complaints of vandalized signs between August 1 and Tuesday of this week, with Barack Obama signs receiving the brunt of the criminal activity. As is to be expected, the perpetrators usually are not caught. As frustrating as the destruction of one's personal property is, law enforcement understandably does not place some bent spokes and a spray painted piece of laminated cardboard at the top of its investigation list.

Whether the yard sign vandals are young people who find the activity an amusing outlet for some late-night energy or supporters of a candidate who cannot stand the sight of the other party's yard sign in their cul de sac, people should know that destroying and/or removing yard signs is a crime. According to Kevin Stryker, assistant county attorney in Williamson County, tolen signs that are valued at less than $50 could be classified as a class C misdemeanor theft and result in a maximum fine of $500. Beware. If you take part in massive yard sign thievery or deface one of the large, billboard-style signs, that decision actually could result in some jail time.

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP encourage you to support the candidate of your choice and give others the freedom to do the same. However, if you have been accused of wrongdoing involving political yard decorations, please get in touch with our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office. We can help you resolve the situation quickly so that you can focus your concerns solely on the daily tracking polls.

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