What controls the level of the offense charged is not the value of the property damaged, but the value of the damage alleged. For instance, if $300 in damage is alleged, then the criminal damage to property charge will be issued as a class A misdemeanor offense. If $10,001 damage is alleged, then the criminal damage to property charge will be issued as a class 3 felony offense.
Illinois courts have held that one way of determining the value of the damage alleged is by looking to the cost of repairs necessitated by the defendant's conduct. See, People vs. Carraro, 77 Ill.2d 75, 394 N.E.2d 1194 (1977). If the prosecution seeks to prove the value of the damage in this manner, the defense will be permitted to challenge how that value was decided. The defense also may be permitted to offer contradictory evidence as to the value of the damage in question.
. . . the HoffmanLaw Office understands the relevant issues . . . It is our job and our mandate to carefully deconstruct the prosecution’s case against you and exploit weaknesses in its evidence to your advantage.
~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office
Interestingly, the criminal damage to property statute contains an affirmative defense. Under the statute, it is an affirmative defense to the charge of knowingly damaging the property of another under section (a)(1) of the statute that the owner of the property consented to the damage. See, 720 ILCS 5/21-1(c).
While misdemeanor and felony criminal damage to property charges are issued under the laws of the State of Illinois, and are listed in the Illinois Criminal Code, less-punitive types of criminal damage to property charges may be issued under local ordinances.
Local ordinance charges, which allege the violation of an ordinance of a unit of local government, like a city, village, or town, frequently are charged as petty offenses. Unlike misdemeanor and felony charges, petty offenses do not provide for sentences of incarceration and typically are punishable by fines, community service, and other similar requirements.
However your Lake County criminal damage to property case is charged, the HoffmanLaw Office understands the relevant issues. These issues can involve the value of the damage alleged, whether you were the person who damaged the property in question, and whether you had the requisite mental state to substantiate the charge against you, in addition to many others. It is our job and our mandate to carefully deconstruct the prosecution’s case against you and exploit weaknesses in its evidence to your advantage.