political signs posted in public places

so there’s a political sign someone put up in the traffic circle on my corner, that i disagree with. i’m not planning on doing anything about it, but out of curiousity, whats the legality of removing/defacing it? I’m asking in general, or usually.

If it’s on public property and posted without permission, my IANAL WAG is that it wouldn’t be considered anything other than litter. Removing litter is a public service.

Laws vary widely. Some cities establish laws protecting the posting of temporary political signs under a certain size in public places. These cities sometimes make tearing down such legal signs a crime.

Other cities heavily regulate public signing. I have no idea what the legality of tearing down illegal signs would be, assuming they are on public property. It’s not like citizens have the ability to enforce building codes or write parking tickets; I have a hard time thinking that citizens are entitled to enforce laws on outdoor advertising.

I live in a politically active town and these things appear all the time. Unless they have a candidate’s name on them they are not protected political ads. I tend to tear them down at first opportunity, along with all the non-political ads stapled to phone polls for moving services or nail polish salons.