One of the most violent and dangerous types of crime is arson, or starting fires intentionally. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which defines arson as any “willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn with or without intent to defraud…”, states that there were nearly 33,400 incidents of arson that took place in the United States in 2019. Arson can often lead to serious injuries or even death, which is why it is punished accordingly in Illinois. If you have been charged with arson, you should know the penalties for the crime and any related charges that you may be facing.
What is Arson in Illinois?
Arson is committed when a person uses fire or explosives and:
Damages real or personal property valued at $150 or more; or
Intends to defraud an insurer and damages real or personal property worth $150 or more
For the most part, arson is charged as a Class 2 felony, which carries a potential sentence of between three and seven years in prison. If arson is committed in a person’s residence or a place of worship, it will be charged as a Class 1 felony, which carries a potential sentence of between four and 15 years in prison. All felony charges carry up to $25,000 in fines.
Elevated Charges: Aggravated Arson
In many cases, an arson charge can be elevated to aggravated arson, which is a more serious charge. Aggravated arson occurs when a person damages a structure with fire or explosives and:
They know or should have reasonably known that there were people inside;
Anyone suffers from great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement; or
A fireman, policeman, or correctional officer is injured in the act.
In any case, aggravated arson is classified as a Class X felony. This means that a person convicted of aggravated arson can face between six and 30 years in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Contact an Elgin, IL Arson Defense Attorney Today
In many cases, an arson charge is extremely serious and can result in many years in prison. In some cases, arson charges can even be elevated to aggravated arson, which is a Class X felony — the most serious of felony charges. If you have been accused of committing arson, you should speak with our knowledgeable Kane County arson defense lawyers today. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we can evaluate the evidence, find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and build a robust defense against the charges. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-488-0889.