In general, criminal offenses typically fall under one of two categories: crimes against the person and crimes against property. “Crimes against the person” refer to the kinds of offenses that result in harm to a person’s physical or mental well-being. In contrast, “crimes against property” include those that cover theft, damage, and many other types of interference with the property of another.
Thus, “property crimes” or “offenses against property” are a broad category of crimes within criminal law that involve offenses that interfere with a person’s right to use or enjoy their real or personal property.
Although property crimes are usually considered to be misdemeanor crimes (i.e., meaning that they result in criminal fines or a short jail sentence), they can be raised to the level of a felony offense if they are committed in connection with the use of a deadly weapon.
In addition, the victim of a property crime may be able to request civil remedies. This can help them to recover any damages inflicted upon their real or personal property during the commission of the alleged property crime.
Depending on the nature of the case and the facts involved, a defendant may also have some defenses available to assert against charges involving property crimes. Some common defenses to property crimes may include mistake, coercion, and public or private necessity.
Finally, it is important to note that while they do sometimes overlap, property crimes are generally different from those crimes associated with criminal damage to property. The main difference between the two is that property crimes are more akin to theft, whereas criminal damage to property crimes normally involve some sort of physical damage to real property (e.g., a house).
The rest of this article provides a list of the types of crimes that may be considered a property crime. It also includes links to supplemental articles that may be able to assist someone who has a question or concern about a property crime matter in determining whether or not they should seek further legal advice from a criminal defense attorney.
What are Property Crimes Involving Theft?
Theft is a broad term that is used to describe any instance of stealing, including larceny, robbery, embezzlement, and false pretenses. Depending on the jurisdiction and the amount of property stolen, these offenses can either be charged as felony offenses or misdemeanors.
For more information concerning theft crimes, please click on the following links:
- The Legal Definition of Theft;
- Theft Involving Felony Larceny;
- Theft by Robbery;
- Defining Embezzlement; and
- The Crime of False Pretenses.
What are Structure Property Crimes?
Arson, burglary, and vandalism can all be classified as “structure crimes” since they are the kinds of offenses that cause damage to real property, as opposed to personal property. Similar to theft, structure crimes may also be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the jurisdiction and the extent of the damage caused to the property involved.
To learn more about the types of matters included under structure crimes, please visit the following links:
- The Definition and Different Degrees of Arson;
- Sentencing and Punishment for Burglary Charges;
- Factors Involved in Breaking and Entering;
- Types of Vandalism Offenses; and
- Graffiti and Tagging.
What are Some Environmental Offenses That Can Be Considered Property Crimes?
An environmental violation is an illegal act that harms the environment or endangers the health of the general public. Environmental subjects, such as pollution, land use, building projects, and toxic substances are regulated by various state statutes and federal laws. Local ordinances also serve to further regulate any zoning, planning, or other type of land use.
In some cases, a violation of an environmental law may permit citizens to bring a civil lawsuit based on a claim that involves harm or damage to the environment.
For further material about how to start a lawsuit or report an offense to a governmental agency, continue reading more about this type of property crime using the articles listed below:
- Common Types of Violations That Involve Environmental Laws;
- Issues with Regulating Environmental Laws;
- Environmental Permits and Licenses;
- Bringing an Action Based on Claims Involving Environmental Harms; and
- A List of Additional Environmental Law Articles.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Issues Involving Property Crimes?
If you have any questions, concerns, or are facing charges that involve a property crime, you should consider speaking with a local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you to prepare your case, gather any supporting evidence, draft the necessary legal documents, and provide representation on your behalf in court.
Additionally, a lawyer will also be able to determine whether there are any defenses available to use against the charges. They can also make sure that your rights are being adequately protected.
Alternatively, if you are attempting to bring a lawsuit based on an environmental law violation, then you should reach out to an experienced government attorney for further assistance.