Facing a Property Crime Charge in Illinois? Strategies to Beat It
If you have been charged with a property crime in Illinois, you need to take it seriously and work to put together the strongest possible defense to fight back. Depending on the nature of your alleged crime, you could be facing years in prison, high fines, and more.
How do you know which strategy is most likely to help in your specific situation? There’s no easy answer, but your best chance at a positive outcome is to work with a Chicago attorney who can point to a track record of success in these types of cases. He or she will be able to look at the facts of your case and craft your defense based on those unique factors.
Still, there are a number of possible strategies that tend to work well in these types of cases, and it’s good to have a basic understanding of the types of arguments your lawyer might make. In this post, we’re going to go over Illinois property crime laws, then detail some of the most frequently used successful defenses.
Property Crimes in Illinois
If someone takes items from another or destroys their property, these acts are considered property crimes under Illinois law. Most of the time, property crimes do not cause injury or harm to another person. Because of this, property crimes need not occur in front of a victim – except in the case of robbery.
Property crimes are typically penalized based on the value of the property that was taken or damaged. If firearms are used in conjunction with the crime, the charges can be elevated.
The most common types of property crimes are vandalism, shoplifting, theft, larceny, burglary, and robbery. Arson is another typical form of property crime.
Because there are so many different types of criminal acts that fall under the umbrella term “property crimes,” the possible defense strategies vary not just by the specifics of your case, but also by the nature of the act. Some of them overlap, but many don’t.
Illinois Theft Charge Defenses
Theft is a common form of a property crime in Illinois. If you are facing theft charges, you may be able to use these defenses for a successful outcome.
Property ownership—You believed the property belonged to you.
Returned property—This defense can reduce the level of your charges.
Entrapment—Government officials induced you to commit theft.
Intent to Return Property—You intended to return the property after a certain period.
Marital Property—You took property from your spouse, which is misappropriation but not larceny.
Consent—The owner of the property provided consent for you to take it.
Duress—You took property because someone else was threatening harm to you.
Illinois Arson Charge Defenses
You need a strong defense to arson charges. One of these defenses may work for you.
Accidental fire—You did not act with intent to set the fire.
Lack of evidence—The prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused the fire, or the case can be dropped.
Mental incapacitation—You were unable to make sound judgments.
Illinois Burglary Charge Defenses
Burglary is often charged as a felony. A strong defense can get your charges reduced or dropped.
Innocence—You did not commit the acts in question and there is strong evidence to support this.
Consent—The owner of the property allowed you to enter.
Entrapment—Someone threatened harm to you or a loved one unless you committed burglary.
Illinois Robbery Charge Defenses
Robbery is prosecuted as a serious crime because it takes place in the presence of a victim. You will need the help of a skilled attorney to fight robbery charges, likely with one or more of the following defenses.
Alibi—You were not present at the time of the incident.
Duress—You committed robbery because someone else threatened harm to you or a loved one unless you acted according to their demands.
Again, all of these are just examples of strategies to give you a sense of the possibilities and ways that you might be able to argue your case. Doing so effectively – that’s the trick.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.