Criminal Property Damage
A Long Grove, Illinois man was arrested recently for throwing a brick through the front door of his neighbor’s home. The man also allegedly entered the home and threatened his neighbor’s wife, then damaged property in the couple’s yard. He allegedly caused the damage because the two victims were Muslim, and said that, "That's what Trump would do,” according to Patch.com. Being charged with criminal property damage can carry a heavy penalty if you are found guilty. In this case, other penalties may apply, such as assault, unlawful entry, and the offense being upgraded to a hate crime. But what constitutes as criminal damage to property?
In order for the prosecution to successfully charge and sentence a person for criminal damage to property, they must be able to show that the defendant had intent. The defendant must have intentionally caused damage to another’s property, according to Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/21-1. Or, the damage must have been caused by:
- Recklessly using fire or explosive devices;
- Knowingly starting a fire on the land or property of another;
- Knowingly deploying a stink bomb or bad smelling instrument on the land of another so as to cause devaluation; or
- Any type of damage with intent to defraud an insurer.
Criminal property damage also occurs if the defendant is proven to have shot a firearm in any portion of a train (a Class 4 felony) or knowingly opens a fire hydrant without authorization (a Class B misdemeanor). Additionally, cutting, injuring, damaging, or tampering with a fire hydrant or private firefighting equipment constitutes as criminal property damage and a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of $1,500.
Level of Misdemeanor or Felony
The following outlines the level of crime associated with the extent of the property damage, as well as the maximum sentence that an individual can expect:
- Class A misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500): value of criminal property damage is under $500;
- Class 4 felony (one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000): value of criminal property damage is $500 or over, but less than $10,000, or if the property damage to a school, farm equipment, or place of religious worship was under $500;
- Class 3 felony (two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000): value of criminal property damage is $10,000 or over, but less than $100,000, or if the property damage to a school, farm equipment, or place of religious worship was $500 or more, but less than $10,000;
- Class 2 felony (three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000): value of criminal property damage is $100,000 or over, or if the property damage to a school, farm equipment, or place of religious worship was $10,000 or more but less than $100,000; and
- Class 1 felony (four to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000): if the property damage to a school, farm equipment, or place of religious worship was $100,000 or more.
Call Us Today
If you have been charged with criminal destruction of property, contact the Naperville criminal defense attorneys of Donahue, Sowa & Magana today. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to assist you immediately with your case.