Property Damage Crimes in Illinois

property-damage-crimesWhile the most common crimes discussed in the media are violent crimes such as rape, murder, and robbery, most crimes in Illinois are so-called property crimes. Property damage crimes are a specific type of property crime where someone knowingly or recklessly damages the property of someone else. These crimes often have serious consequences.

What Is Property under the Law?

When most people hear the word property they think of land, houses, and real estate. But, under Illinois law, property is anything that someone can own. This includes pets, cars, furniture in your house, and just about anything else in your home or place of business.

Theft property crimes involve someone taking control over the property that doesn’t belong to them. Property damage crimes involve someone harming the property of someone else. Usually there has to be an intention to cause the harm or damage.

Types of Property Damages Crimes

There are five ways to commit a property damage crime in Illinois:

  1. Knowingly causing damage to someone else’s property;
  2. Recklessly causing damage to someone else’s property through a fire or explosion;
  3. Knowingly starting a fire on someone else’s land, without permission to do so;
  4. Knowingly injuring a pet that belongs to someone else; or
  5. Intentionally damaging property to collect insurance

For most property damage crimes, the sentence will depend on the total amount of damage done to the property. The higher the dollar amount the longer the jail or prison sentence.

If the total damage is less than $300, the crime is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Often crimes relating to graffiti fall into this category.

If the total property damage is between $300 and $10,000 the crime is a Class 4 felony. These crimes carry a maximum sentence of between one and three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Property damage crimes that are committed against a school, house of worship, or farm equipment where the damage is less than $300 are also considered Class 4 felonies.

Property damage crimes exceeding $10,000 in damage, but less than $100,00 are Class 3 felonies. These crimes carry a maximum penalty of two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Property damage that is more than $100,000 is a Class 2 felony. The maximum sentence is between three to seven years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Have you been charged or accused of a property damage crime? You need to consult with a tough and knowledgeable Naperville criminal defense lawyer right away. Do not talk to anyone else about your case until you have met with a lawyer. Call today to schedule a consultation.