Protests in Chicago and cities around the country turned violent last weekend as thousands marched in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. When protests turn into riots, the most common charges people face are disorderly conduct and burglary. Some people may be arrested for disobeying city-wide curfews or fleeing an officer. If you or someone you know was arrested or currently faces any of these charges, contact a criminal justice attorney right away.
Arrests made in Chicago
According to ABC7, more than 1,000 people were arrested in Chicago between Friday, May 29 and Sunday, May 31. A whopping 80% of these arrests were for disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the accusation). Others were arrested for burglary, looting, and arson. On Sunday alone there were 700 arrests for looting.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean those arrested will actually face charges. It is up to the state’s attorney’s office to determine if someone will be formally charged with a felony. However, 87% of those arrested last weekend for burglary will end up in court facing charges. The odds are pretty good that a burglary arrest during a riot will result in a felony charge. At that point, having a criminal justice attorney on your team is the smartest move you can make.
Breakdown of common charges
To better understand the charges arrestees are facing after the protests and riots around the country, take a look at the breakdown below.
Disorderly Conduct (720 ILCS 5/26-1) counts as anything that breaches the peace. Since this definition is vague and could cover just about everything under the sun, it’s imperative to have a criminal justice attorney working with you to navigate the charges.
- Class C Misdemeanor in most instances.
- Courts can also tack on 30 to 120 hours of community service to a disorderly conduct conviction.
- Class 4 Felony if actions are directed at or on the property of a school, whether or not school is in session.
Burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1) occurs when one individual enters someone else’s property with the intent to steal something or commit a felony. Buildings, businesses, homes, and vehicles are all properties that can be burgled.
- Class 2 Felony if no damage is done.
- Class 3 Felony if there is damage done.
- Class 1 Felony if committed against a school, child care facility, or place of worship.
Looting (720 ILCS 5/25-4) is the act of entering someone else’s home or business without permission from the owner, especially during a time when security has been compromised due to a major event (like a riot).
- Class 4 Felony in most instances.
- In addition, those charged must complete 100 hours of community service and repay the owner for the property stolen or damaged.
Arson (720 ILCS 5/20-1) is the damage of property by fire or explosive. There are many different iterations of this crime. Depending on the property type, property value, and the defendant’s intent, the charge will be different.
- Class 2 Felony if the property is valued at $150 or more and/or the intent is to defraud an insurance agency.
- Class 1 Felony if the property is a residential home or a place of worship.
Criminal Defacement of Property (720 ILCS 5/21-1.3), often referred to as vandalism, is writing on, drawing on, or damaging someone’s property with paint or writing tools.
- Class A Misdemeanor for the first offense if less than $500 of damage is done.
- Class 4 Felony for the second offense, if more than $500 in damage is done, or if the property is a school, place of worship, or a structure honoring a specific group (like police officers).
- Class 3 Felony if the damage exceeds $500 and the property is a school, place of worship, or structure honoring a specific group.
- Aside from punishments for each charge, defendants typically have to repay the property owner for the damage done.
Breakdown of sentencing
Expect to pay for the damage done to property on top of sentencing fines for these charges. Keep in mind that the second or third time a defendant is charged with the same crime, the sentencing becomes longer and more expensive.
- Class 1 Felony: Punishable by four and 15 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.
- Class 2 Felony: Punishable by three to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.
- Class 3 Felony: Punishable by two to five years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.
- Class 4 Felony: Punishable by one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.
- Class A Misdemeanor: Punishable by up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, or both.
- Class C Misdemeanor: Punishable by up to 30 days in jail, up to $1,500 in fines, or both.
Protests and riots tend to get out of control quickly and many people get swept up in the moment. Sometimes, individuals are mistakenly identified as participants in the charges listed above. If you or someone you know has recently been arrested or charged with these – or any – crimes, contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates for a free consultation.