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Illinois: Criminal Damage to Property

Are you facing the consequences of a very serious charge of criminal damage to property? In Illinois, the crime of criminal damage to property covers a broad range of offenses. A conviction for the crime can result in heavy penalties including long jail terms, felony convictions on your record, and harsh monetary fines.

What is Criminal Damage to Property in the State of Illinois?

The Illinois criminal damage to property law is a complex statute including many types of damage to property and a wide range of possible penalties depending on what type of property you damage and how you damage it. The actual value of the damage you cause can be a question for the court’s trier of fact to decide.

In Illinois, criminal damage to property occurs when a person:

  • (a) Knowingly damages any property of another; or
  • (b) Recklessly by means of fire or explosives damages the property of another; or
  • (c) Knowingly starts a fire on the land of another; or
  • (d) Knowingly injures a domestic animal without the owner’s consent; or
  • (e) Knowingly deposits on the land or in the building of another a stink bomb or offensive smelling compound and thereby intends to interfere with the use by others of the land or building; or
  • (f) Damages any property with intent to defraud an insurer; or
  • (g) Knowingly shoots a firearm at any portion of a railroad train.

Criminal damage to the property of a school, a place of worship, or to farm equipment carries harsher penalties.

What Penalties do You Face in an Illinois Criminal Damage to Property Case?

Class A Misdemeanor

  • Up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,500
  • For property damage valued at less than $300.

Class 4 Felony

  • Up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
  • For property damage valued from $300 up to $10,000,
  • OR when the damaged property was farm equipment or belonged to a school or place or worship and was valued at up to $300.

Class 3 Felony

  • Up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
  • For property damage valued from $10,000 up to $100,000,
  • OR if the damaged property was farm equipment or belonged to a school or place or worship and was valued between $300 and $10,000.

Class 2 Felony

  • Up to 7 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000
  • For property damage valued at more than $100,000,
  • OR when the damaged property was farm equipment or belonged to a school or place or worship and is valued from $10,000 to $100,000.

Class 1 Felony

  • Up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
  • For damage to farm equipment or the property of a school or place of worship where the value of the damage exceeds $100,000,

The nature of the crime of damage to property causes the court to order between 30 and 120 hours of community service in addition to other penalties in a case. Adequate performance of the court-ordered community service is necessary in order to achieve successful completion of a term of Court Supervision and dismissal of a criminal damage to property charge.

Criminal defacement of property (such as graffiti) and criminal damage to firefighting equipment or devices are special cases of property damage that carry their own special penalties.

Criminal Convictions for Damage to Property Carry Long-Term Consequences

A criminal conviction can result in harsh denials of your applications for jobs, loans, student financial aid, apartments, and professional licenses. Felony convictions carry particular weight in immigration proceedings. Negative consequences of a criminal conviction can follow you around for your entire life.

When you’ve been charged with a crime, you want to enlist the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Chicago criminal defense attorney like Michael P. Schmiege from the outset. Skilled counsel could mean the difference between the penalties of probation or Court Supervision followed by dismissal of your case, and a long stretch in prison followed by a life on the outside with no housing, credit, or employment prospects.

Chicago criminal defense attorney Michael P. Schmiege has worked with criminal damage to property defendants facing the different levels misdemeanor and felony charges. He knows how to apply the law to the facts of your case to structure a winning defense.

Mr. Schmiege will work with you to determine if you have an affirmative defense for the charge because the property owner consented in some way to the act for which you are charged. Remember, the main goal for the victim of a property damage crime is usually to get the property repaired or replaced. To the extent that restitution is available, you might be eligible to make a plea deal that satisfies the aims of both sides of the case.

Chicago criminal defense attorney Michael Schmiege will examine all angles of your case and aggressively work to win dismissal of the case or reduction of the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. His dedicated efforts in case negotiations and trial preparation on your behalf could make the difference between freedom and a criminal record hanging over your head. But the first step to take is yours.

Contact Chicago criminal defense attorney Michael Schmiege today for a free and confidential case review.

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