CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY ELEMENTS
Criminal Damage to Property is laid out in 720 ILCS 5/21-1 which provides that:
A person commits criminal damage to property when he or she:
Knowingly damages any property of another;
Recklessly by means of fire or explosive damages property of another;
Knowingly starts a fire on the land of another;
Knowingly injures a domestic animal of another without his or her consent;
Knowingly deposits on the land or in the building of another any stink bomb or offensive smelling compound and thereby intends to interfere with the use by another of the land or building;
Knowingly damages any property, other than as described in paragraph 2 of subsection 1 of section 20-1 with intent to defraud an insurer;
Knowingly shoots a firearm at any portion of a railroad train;
Knowingly, without proper authorization, cuts, injures, damages, defaces, destroys, or tampers with any fire hydrant or any public or private fire fighting equipment, or any apparatus appertaining to fire fighting equipment; or
Intentionally, without proper authorization opens any fire hydrant.
POTENTIAL SENTENCING FOR CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
Sentencing for Criminal Damage to property is dependent on which element is alleged and the total value of the damages sustained by the property by the Defendant. If the value sustained is specified in the complaint against the Defendant, it’s ultimately up to the trier of fact to decide whether the damages sustained exceeded or didn’t exceed that specified value. This value is determined by the cost of the victim to repair the property damaged by the Defendant. However, if the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the property before damage, then the maximum amount chargeable to the defendant’s conduct will be the overall value of the item before damage occurred. The State will need to prove that the amount of damage you committed exceeded a certain value in order to sustain a Felony charge, once they’ve proven that the burden then falls on the Defendant to disprove that the damages sustained were under that specific amount. This could mean the difference between walking away with a Class A Misdemeanor, or a Class 4 Felony.
The statute lays out the sentencing guidelines as follows:
Violation of paragraph 8 or 9 is a Class B Misdemeanor;
Violation of paragraph 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6 is a Class A Misdemeanor if the damage to property does not exceed $500.
Violation of paragraph 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6 is a Class 4 Felony when the damage does not exceed $500 and the damage occurs to a school, place of worship, farm equipment, immovable items of agricultural production, or property which honors members of the armed forces or public sector.
A violation of paragraph 4 is a Class 4 Felony when the damage to property does not exceed $10,000.
A violation of paragraph 7 is a Class 4 Felony.
A violation of paragraph 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6 is a Class 4 Felony when the damage exceeds $500, but does not exceed $10,000.
Violation of paragraph 1 through 6 is a Class 3 Felony when the damage exceeds $500 but does not exceed $10,000 and the damage occurs to a school, place of worship, farm equipment, immovable items of agricultural production, or property which honors members of the armed forces or public sector.
A violation of paragraphs 1 through 6 is a Class 3 Felony when the damage to property exceeds $10,000 but does not exceed $100,000.
Violation of paragraph 1 through 6 is a Class 2 Felony when the damage exceeds $10,000 and the damage occurs to a school, place of worship, farm equipment, immovable items of agricultural production, or property which honors members of the armed forces or public sector.
Bear in mind, that when the total value of the damage exceeds $10,000, the Court will levy a sentencing of a fine equal to the value of the damages to the property onto the Defendant. The Statute also mandates that any sentencing, that does not involve serving a sentence of incarceration, will automatically include the Defendant perform community services hours ranging between 30 to 120 hours; and finally, if the damage to property involves the destruction of crops, that individual will be liable in civil action to the owner for up to twice the market value of the crops destroyed.
Because the elements of Criminal Damage to Property require specific intent of the Defendant, such as knowingly, affirmative defenses such as voluntary intoxication are available to a Defendant to claim should the case itself proceed to trial. Whether or not the Defendant was so intoxicated that they were unable to form the necessary intent (or Mens Rea) to commit the charge of Criminal Damage to Property is a question of fact for the jury (or judge) to decide.
Furthermore, Consent is also an affirmative defense for paragraphs 1, 3 and 5.
Which, for those of you keeping score at home, is the element that involves the stink bombing of another individuals property.
Criminal Damage to Property is a serious crime which can have serious ramifications for your future and your reputation within the community. A felony conviction can impact your ability to pursue certain job and educational opportunities, as well as, give apartment buildings the opportunity to deny you housing. If your charge cannot be beaten in open court, a good attorney will work with you and the prosecuting attorney in order to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor so as to protect your future. If you’ve been charged with Criminal Damage to Property, contact my office immediately for your free consultation.
Attorney Joseph S. Angelillo
Attorney Joseph Angelillo has been representing those alleged to have committed criminal offenses throughout the State of Illinois since 2016.