Vanessa Hudgens was recently found guilty of defacing national property and earlier today was threatened with a legal hearing unless she comes up with the money to pay the fine dictated by the court.
Vanessa Hudgens is best-known for playing good girl Gabriella Montez in High School Musical, but she was not the same paragon of good behavior during her Valentine’s Day weekend getaway to Arizona’s Coconino National Forest with her boyfriend, actor Austin Butler.
When Hudgens carved her and Austin’s names into the face of a red rock, she did not even realize she was breaking the law. This is evidenced by the fact that Hudgens later posted a photo of the carving to her Instagram, geotag and all.
It is, however, a crime to deface natural formations in a national park, and park rangers quickly took notice of Vanessa’s misstep. Coconino National forest spokesman Brady Smith was assigned to Hudgens’ case, and he contacted her immediately, reports CNN.
Smith says Hudgens was “cooperative in providing the specific location” of the crime scene, and Billboard reports that he accompanied Vanessa to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Flagstaff.
Smith sympathized with Vanessa, noting that he was unable to recall any signs or other warnings in the area informing people of the law.
“People make mistakes, whether knowingly or unknowingly,” he said two weeks ago when he was assigned to her case.
But ignorance of the law, Smith continued, is certainly not an excuse for violating it, and the courts will not go easy on Hudgens just because of her celebrity status.
Smith added that this is far from the first time Coconino’s rangers have faced this problem. It is a common problem, and it just gets more common as time goes on.
“We have found that when one person carves something, it encourages others to carve. Carving of any kind affects the natural beauty of the area.”
Although smith was very understanding of Hudgens’ predicament, Vanessa’s social media followers were not so forgiving.
“Many Arizonans work really hard to preserve the land and to keep the state a nice one,” wrote one Instagram user.
“It’s just rude to go to someone’s home and vandalize it. Just disrespectful to those of us who actually value our state.”
“What moron would graffiti on Sedona’s red rocks?! I hope Vanessa Hudgens is punished for carving on one of the most spectacular places in AZ,” posted another.
As for Hudgens herself, she almost seems to be in denial over the fact that she is involved in ongoing legal proceedings. As Xpose points out, she has deleted the original Instagram photo and has remained completely silent about the debacle on all of her social media outlets, instead discussing hair treatments, posting pictures of herself trying on revealing outfits, and thanking fans for helping her reach seven million Twitter followers.
Unfortunately for Hudgens, she cannot stay silent forever. Now that the court has reviewed her case and offered Vanessa an ultimatum, we will see if Hudgens will indeed pay the undisclosed fine or instead take her chances in a court of law. If she chooses the latter option, she could end up facing up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Either way, Vanessa is in deep trouble.
Will Vanessa Hudgens go for the safe — but possibly very costly — option or take the “everyman” route of facing a judge? Check back with The Inquisitr for updates as this case develops, as we will likely have the answer any day now.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]