The Illinois Criminal Code includes laws against multiple property crimes, such as criminal trespass to property and criminal damage to property. Both of these crimes involve illegal activities involving another person’s property. But these offenses are defined separately and contain distinct punishment schemes.
Criminal Trespass to Property
720 ILCS 5/21-3 details the laws against criminal trespass to property. A person commits this offense if they:
- Enter or remain in a building, knowingly and without legal authority;
- Access someone else’s land, despite receiving notice not to enter;
- Remain on someone else’s land, after receiving notice to leave;
- Misrepresent their identify to gain unlawful access to a building or land;
- Remove a legal notice from a building intentionally; or
- Enter an agricultural property used for crops, livestock, or similar purposes, despite receiving notice not to enter.
Section 21-3 also establishes the punishment for criminal trespass to property. Most commonly, this offense qualifies as a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, the maximum sentence includes criminal fines up to $1,500 and six months in jail.
Criminal Damage to Property
720 ILCS 5/21-1 provides the laws against criminal damage to property. A person commits this offense if they knowingly or recklessly:
- Damage someone else’s property;
- Use fire or explosives to damage someone else’s property;
- Ignite a fire on someone else’s land;
- Harm someone else’s domestic animal without consent;
- Install a stink bomb or similarly offensive device on someone else’s land;
- Attempt to commit insurance fraud by damaging property;
- Tamper with fire-fighting equipment, whether public or private;
- Discharge a firearm at a train; or
- Open a fire hydrant without proper authorization.
Section 21-1 also highlights the punishment for criminal damage to property. Generally speaking, the punishment depends upon the value of the damaged property in question. For example, if the value of the damaged property was:
- Less than $500 — Then the offender will typically face Class A misdemeanor charges and the possibility of $2,500 in criminal fines and 364 days in jail;
- Between $500 & $10,000 — Then the offender will typically face Class 4 felony charges and the possibility of $25,000 in criminal fines and three years in prison;
- Between $10,000 & $100,000 — Then the offender will typically face Class 3 felony charges and the possibility of $25,000 in criminal fines and five years in prison; or
- More than $100,000 — Then the offender will typically face Class 2 felony charges and the possibility of $25,000 in criminal fines and seven years in prison.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.