Criminial Damage to Property
In Illinois, a person commits the offense of criminal damage to property when he or she:
(1) knowingly damages any property of another;
(2) recklessly by means of fire or explosives damages the property of another
(3) knowingly starts a fire on the land of another;
(4) knowingly injures a domestic animal of another;
(5) knowingly deposits on the land or in the building of another any stink bomb or any offensive smelling compound with the intent to interfere with the other person’s use of the land or the building; or
(6) knowingly damages any property with intent to defraud an insurer.
720 ILCS 5/21-1. Issues in defense of criminal damage to property charges may arise pertaining specifically to the amount of damage alleged and the classification of the specific property that was allegedly damaged. The difference is key in determining whether the penalty is a Class A misdemeanor (less than one year in county jail) or a Class 1 felony (4 to 25 years in the state penitentiary). For example, if the State has sufficient evidence to prove that the amount of damage caused was $499, then the penalty is a Class A misdemeanor (less than one year in county jail), but if the State has sufficient evidence to prove that the amount of damage was $150,000 then the penalty becomes a Class 2 felony (3 to 7 years in the state penitentiary), and assuming the State can prove the property in question was a Church, then the penalty increases to a Class 1 felony. If you or a loved one are facing criminal damage to property charges, it is important to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who will thoroughly review all of the evidence, identify all potential issues with the State’s case, and devise an aggressive defense strategy to help fight criminal damage to property charges.