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Breaking Badly: Criminal Damage to Property

 Posted on March 04, 2015 in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, vandalism,We all know that if we break or destroy something that belongs to another person we are likely on the hook for the costs of replacing or repairing what we damaged. What some people do not realize until they find themselves in need of a criminal defense lawyer is that breaking the property of another is often a crime that can carry jail time.

Criminal Damage to Property

Illinois statute creates the offense of criminal damage to property. There are nine different ways a person can commit this offense. They include:

  1. Knowingly damaging another person’s property without the owner’s consent;
  2. Recklessly damaging another person’s property with fire or explosives;
  3. Knowingly starting a fire on someone else’s land without the owner’s consent;
  4. Knowingly injuring another person’s domestic animal without the owner’s consent;
  5. Knowingly depositing a stink bomb or similar smelly substance on someone else’s land or building to interfere with the use of the building or land without the owner’s consent;
  6. Knowingly damaging certain types of property to defraud an insurance company;
  7. Knowingly shooting a firearm at a train;
  8. Knowingly tampering with a fire hydrant or fire fighting equipment; and
  9. Intentionally opening a fire hydrant without proper permission.

Criminal Damage to Government Supported Property

Under Illinois law, government supported property is property supported at least in part by government funding. It is a crime to:

  1. Knowingly damage government supported property without the state’s consent;
  2. Knowingly damage government property with an explosive or fire;
  3. Start a fire on government supported property without the state’ s consent; and
  4. Knowingly use a stink bomb or similar item on government supported property without the state’s consent to interfere with the use of the property.

While many types of regular criminal damage to property can be misdemeanors if the amount of the damages is not too great, all types of damage to government supported property are felonies. The class of felony depends upon the cost of the damage done. If the damage to the property is more than $10,000 the offender will also face a fine in an amount equal to the value of the damage to the property.

Institutional Vandalism

A person commits institutional vandalism when he or she damages one of certain types of properties at least in part because of the actual or perceived race, creed, religion, or national origin of another person or group of people. It may be considered a “hate crime” version of property damage. The properties covered by this statute include:

  1. Places of religious worship or personal property contained therein;
  2. Cemeteries or other places used for burying or memorializing the dead or personal property contained therein;
  3. Schools, educational centers, and community centers or personal property contained therein; and
  4. The grounds adjacent to any of the above three places.

Even if the damage done is only valued at costing one cent, institutional vandalism is at least a Class 3 felony. If the value of the damaged property exceeds $300 or if the offender has a prior conviction for this type of offense, it is a Class 2 felony.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are facing property damage charges, or are charged with some other crime, you need help. You should call the law offices of experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

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