When people think about crime, it is usually violent crime that comes to mind. Drug and gun related crime dominates the news, especially in the Chicago area. That said, property crimes are four times more prevalent in Chicago than violent crimes, and many such crimes are serious offenses. Being convicted of certain property crimes can result in serious consequences including incarceration and hefty fines and fees. Do not take property crime charges lightly. If you are facing any charges related to a crime against the property of another in the Chicago area, you need an aggressive Chicago criminal defense lawyer.
What are Property Crimes in Illinois?
Property crimes are those crimes involving the theft or the destruction of the property of another. The term property crime is an umbrella category under which many different misdemeanor and felony charges can be brought. Illinois recognizes numerous crimes against property, and defines property as anything of value. Some examples of property crimes Chicago-area residents are charged with include arson, burglary, shoplifting, and theft. Other property crimes include destroying or otherwise defacing public or private property, and vandalism. Different types of fraud, including identity theft, are also crimes against property.
Misdemeanor Property Crimes Versus Felony Property Crimes
It is not the particular property crime you are charged with, but factors relating to the crime that will determine whether you will face misdemeanor or felony charges. Some of the factors the prosecutor will consider include the value of the property that is the subject of the charges, whether or not there was any violence involved in the commission of the property crime, and whether or not anybody was hurt during the commission of the crime.
Possible Penalties for Property Crimes
Penalties for crimes against property vary significantly, from probation to prison time to extensive fines and penalties. The penalties for property crimes vary greatly in the state of Illinois. Depending on the severity of the offense as well as the specific charge, being convicted can result in probation, prison time, and expensive fines. More serious crimes like arson are punished more severely. You are facing Class 2 felony charges if arrested and charged with arson. You will be charged with a Class 1 felony if the arson is residential arson or the arson of a place of worship. Aggravated arson is charged as a Class X felony – the most serious felony charge in Illinois. Penalties for other property crimes are less severe.
Are You Being Accused of a Property Crime in Chicago?
If the police are going to question you, then you should exercise your constitutional rights to have a lawyer present. Having a skilled property crimes criminal defense attorney to fight for you from the outset can help you obtain the best possible outcome, if you are charged. There are defenses available to protect your rights no matter what property crime you are charged with. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process, so if you are being charged with a property crime and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call an experienced criminal defense attorney at David Freidberg law today, at (312) 560-7100, or email, for a no-obligation consultation.