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Institutional Vandalism and Property Damage Charges

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

The recent country-wide protests and marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have caused a sharp increase in vandalism. Parties from all sides of the issues at hand have been arrested. In Illinois, there are several different types of vandalism charges offenders could face. If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal damage to property, criminal defacement of property, institutional vandalism, or any of the charges outlined below, contact a criminal justice attorney right away.

Property damage around Illinois
After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend, protests against police brutality broke out across the country. Many turned into riots. In Oak Park, Illinois, graffiti was found covering garage doors and vehicles, the Chicago Tribune reported. In Naperville, a suburb southwest of the city, more than 30 businesses were damaged.

Vandalism doesn’t just occur during periods of national unrest. On June 2 in Anna, Illinois, a small city south of St. Louis, a cannabis dispensary had its front door smashed in. It didn’t appear to be related to protests or rioting.

Criminal Damage to Property (720 ILCS 5/21-1) can take any of the following forms:

  • Reckless use of explosives
  • Deliberate harm to property or domestic animals
  • Stink bombs
  • Damage with the intent to commit insurance fraud
  • Opening or defacing a fire hydrant

Criminal Defacement of Property (720 ILCS 5/21-1.3) is similar, but deals more with vandalism. This could include:

  • Using paint to alter an image
  • Deforming an existing piece of property
  • Using any substance similar to paint to write words or images on someone’s property

Sentences for both offenses range from Class A Misdemeanors to Class 4 Felonies. It totally depends on the circumstances surrounding the event, the amount of damage done, and the type of property. Typically, offenders are also asked to repay the owner the amount lost and complete community service.

Institutional vandalism
Institutional vandalism typically goes hand-in-hand with a hate crime charge. For instance, in early June, police charged an Illinois man with a hate crime after they discovered he marked a vehicle with the letters, “KKK.” The car belongs to a black woman and the offender is a white male.

According to 720 ILCS 5/21-1.2, institutional vandalism is when one person damages the property of another person because of their “actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals.” Damage to religious buildings, schools, and cemeteries also fall under this law.

If the damage is below $500, offenders face Class 3 Felony charges. This means between two and five years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both. If the damage exceeds $500, or this is the second offense, offenders face Class 2 Felony charges. This means three to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.

Institutional Vandalism and Criminal Damage and Defacement to Property are serious charges. If you have been arrested for these crimes, or know someone who has, it’s wise to have an attorney on your side. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates for a free consultation.