Property crimes are extremely serious offenses in Chicago and the surrounding communities, and if you’ve been accused of something of this nature, it’s in your best interest to talk to a property crime defense lawyer as soon as possible—even if you’re completely innocent.
What Are Property Crimes in Chicago and the Suburbs?
Property crimes are those crimes that involve theft or destruction of someone else’s property. Some property crimes are felonies, while others are misdemeanors. Under 720 ILCS 5/15-1, property is defined as basically anything that’s valuable to its owner. The laws are the same all over the state, whether you’re in Chicago, Skokie, Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows or another community.
Common property crimes include:
- Defacing or destroying property
- Some types of fraud and identity theft
Criminal Damage to Property
Criminal damage to property can include:
- Knowingly damaging or destroying someone else’s property (again, that’s defined as something that the owner finds valuable)
- Damaging property in order to collect insurance money
- Recklessly damaging or destroying someone’s property by fire or explosion
- Knowingly starting a fire involving someone’s property or land
- Knowingly injuring a pet that belongs to someone else
Possible Consequences of Property Crimes
Property crimes can result in probation, jail or even prison time. In many cases, if you’re convicted, you’ll be required to pay to replace or repair property that was damaged during the commission of the crime.
The value of the property involved in the crime, as well as whether the crime involved violence or injury, will determine whether you’re charged with a felony or a misdemeanor; the severity of the crime also determines the severity of the punishment.
- Property damage as a Class A misdemeanor: Damage is less than $300.
Sentence: Up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
- Property damage as a Class 4 felony: Damage is more than $300 but less than $10,000, or damage is committed against a school, place of worship, or to farm equipment and is valued at less than $300.
Sentence: 1 to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Property Damage as a Class 3 felony: Damage is valued between $10,000 and $100,000, or damage is committed against a school, place of worship, or to farm equipment and is valued at between $300 and $10,000.
Sentence: 2 to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Property Damage as a Class 2 felony: Damage is valued at more than $100,000 or damage is committed against a school, place of worship, or to farm equipment and is valued at between $10,000 and $100,000.
Sentence: 3 to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Property Damage as a Class 1 felony: Damage is committed against a place of worship, a school, or to farm equipment and the damage is valued at more than $100,000.
Sentence: 4 to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
In some cases, property crimes are considered misdemeanors, such as criminal defacement of property (graffiti, painting on someone else’s property, or other types of defacement).
Talk to a Chicago Property Crime Defense Lawyer Now
The consequences of these types of crimes can be extremely severe; you could be facing time in prison and serious fines. You need to talk to a Chicago property crime defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you’re aggressively represented in court.
Call us at 847-920-4540 for your free property crime case evaluation right now. We can begin building a strategy to defend you against property crime charges in Chicago, Skokie or the surrounding communities and get you the best possible outcome.