There are many acts that constitute a criminal offense in the United States. However, not everyone might know that certain actions that can result in an arrest, and they may be unaware of the potential punishments. In Illinois, a property crime is defined as the theft or destruction of another person’s property. Depending on the circumstances, the charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying penalties if someone is convicted. It is important to note that property is not just limited to a piece of land or a personal possession, such as a house, a vehicle, or expensive artwork. In some cases, intellectual property can be stolen, which refers to inventions, writings and artwork, designs, names, symbols, and images. Essentially, anything of value to the owner can be considered property.
Examples of Property Crimes
There are many different types of property crimes according to Illinois law. These can include the following acts or behaviors:
Burglary, theft/larceny, robbery
Destroying or defacing property
Possession of stolen property
Fraud and identity theft
It is important to distinguish between some of the above-mentioned property crimes. Arson is purposely setting fire to or charring property. It can be elevated to aggravated arson if the alleged perpetrator knows someone will be in or on the property being burned.
Burglary involves entering a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime. Theft is often referred to as larceny and does not have to involve a structure. For instance, shoplifting is a type of theft. Robbery involves taking an owner’s property without his or her consent, but it also includes the threat of violence during the theft.
Fraud or identity theft means unlawfully obtaining and using another individual’s personal information in a way that involves deceptive practices, usually for economic gain. For instance, stealing someone’s Social Security number or using his or her credit card data to purchase items may be considered identity theft.
Penalties for Property Crimes
Any crime related to property is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. Punishments for these offenses can range from probation to steep fines to prison time. There are several factors that can impact whether a property crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, including:
The value of the property
Whether the crime involved violence
If anyone was hurt
In some cases, those who are found guilty must also pay compensation to replace or repair property that was damaged during the criminal act. An example of a Class A misdemeanor can include theft of property up to $500 in value. This is punishable by less than one year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500. A Class X felony is theft of property valued at $1,000,000 or more. This carries a punishment of 6 to 30 years in jail and up to a $25,000 fine.
Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is essential to know the different actions that could lead to a property crime, since the consequences are harsh for these offenses in Illinois. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges related to property, you need professional legal counsel. Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. have extensive knowledge of Illinois criminal law. Our qualified Itasca theft and burglary defense attorneys will build an aggressive defense and make sure your rights were not violated at the time of your arrest. Schedule a private, complimentary consultation to discuss your case and find out how we can help you reduce or dismiss your charges altogether. Call our office today at 630-875-1700.