defendant facing judgeThis is the next article in my series on the handling of Class “A” misdemeanor charges in Peoria and other central Illinois areas. My last article discussed the handling of aggravated assault charges. Defendants must remember that they can face additional counts, along with the charge for aggravated assault. In the event of a conviction, the judge will have discretion as to whether the sentences should run concurrently or consecutively. Retaining an experienced attorney can help ensure that you mount the strongest possible defense. In this article I will discuss dealing with charges of criminal damage to property. If you or a family member have been arrested then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

Criminal damage to property can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois

It is a crime to intentionally damage property which does not belong to you. Illinois considers the damage of property to be criminal in nature when any of the following occurs:

  • When someone knowingly and purposefully damages another’s property
  • When the reckless use of fire or explosives results in property damage
  • When one knowingly starts a fire on another’s property
  • When one harms another’s pet
  • When one damages property with the intent of committing insurance fraud
  • Etc.

Depending on the facts of the case, an offense can be charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor or a felony. In some instances, it can also be a Class “B” misdemeanor. Generally speaking, an offense will be charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor if the value of the property was less than $500 and it did not occur in a certain type of location (such as a school). The offense will be elevated to a Class “4” felony if the value of the property is between $500 and $10,000. Cases involving damage between $10,000 and $100,000 will be charged as a Class “3” felony and so on.

An individual may not be charged with criminal damage to property if the owner consented to the damage. An example of this would include someone who consented to fireworks being shot off from their property and later called the police when damage occurred. Also, it should be remembered that the value of the property will be determined by a jury at trial. In other words, a victim claiming that their property was worth “x” does not make it so. The prosecution will need to prove the actual value in objective terms.

Peoria defendants face jail or prison when charged with criminal damage to property

If one has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property then they will be facing up to one year in jail. The offense will generally be probationable. On the other end of the spectrum, an individual facing Class “2” felony charges for cases of over $100,000 will be facing up to seven years in prison. This is in addition to time that may be required for other counts brought in conjunction with the property-related charges. Other consequences of a conviction include having a permanent criminal record, difficulty with obtaining employment, disqualification when applying for housing, etc. Retaining an experienced attorney can be an important step towards ensuring that your rights remain protected.

I am a Peoria criminal defense lawyer and a former prosecutor. I am experienced in the handling of criminal damage to property cases and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, we are able to help. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you. My office also serves the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. I also handle federal cases in Urbana.