Are you facing charges of arson in Chicago?
Arson is a serious charge to be facing as it is categorized as a felony and not as a misdemeanor. If you are facing these accusations, your first step should be to get in touch with an arson lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege. We have years of experience in handling these types of cases and will do everything possible to get your charges reduced or even dropped. Since we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you will be able to contact us when you need help. Our firm is always available to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have. We even offer a free case evaluation so that you can let us know the details of your case quickly and easily. You should choose a dedicated and aggressive legal team to handle your case if you are facing accusations of arson in the Chicago area.
To find out how you can get your arson charges reduced or eliminated, call 312-906-7800 for a free consultation.
What is considered arson in Illinois?
The Illinois Code §720.20 (2010) gives information regarding what to expect when accused of arson. Arson is defined as destroying or damaging property worth $150 or more by setting fire to it. This could be the property of someone else or it could be their own property with the intent to defraud the insurance company. As a criminal offense, arson is the act of knowingly damaging or destroying another person’s property through the use of fire. Destroying property that you have partial ownership of is also considered arson. For example, it would be a crime to destroy a second home that is owned by you. This sometimes occurs when individuals are trying to commit insurance fraud. There are many variations of this crime, several of which have penalties that differ from typical acts of destruction, making each situation unique.
Arson charges in Illinois
As mentioned above, arson is a felony under Illinois law. The reason this is charged as a Class 2 felony is because there is always the potential that someone could be seriously injured or even killed. Even if the individual believed that no-one was in the building, there is always the chance that they were wrong. Not only that, but the fire could easily get out of control and spread to another area.
The charges could increase to a Class X felony if the individual is charged with aggravated arson. There are certain factors that have to be present in order for a person to be charged with aggravated arson. The person must have partially or completely damaged someone’s property knowing that there was the possibility of injuring someone. If the court decides they should have known someone was in the vicinity of the fire, this could also result in an aggravated charge. Aggravated charges are brought against the perpetrator when someone was injured or when a fireman or policeman was at the scene and was injured.
Penalties for Arson in Illinois
As to penalties, if someone is charged with setting fire to an uninhabited structure, they could be facing up to seven years in a state prison. If they are convicted of arson against the property of another, the prison time could increase to ten years. Arson of a structure that was inhabited could lead to up to 30 years in prison and arson that resulted in serious injury to a victim could invoke a sentence of 30 years.
- Arson (Class 2 Felony): A fine of up to $25,000 and between three and seven years in prison.
- Arson (Class 1 Felony): A fine of up to $25,000 and between four and 15 years in prison.
In order to ensure that you do not lose years of your life because of an arson conviction, you should contact a criminal defense attorney from our office!
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Contact a Chicago arson lawyer today.
If you have more questions about arson or what you should do, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. By looking through our past case verdicts, you will be able to see how our tireless dedication to our clients results in a successful resolution to their case. We are able to represent people who have been accused of theft, DUI, violent crimes, federal crimes, murder, and more. For a free case evaluation, please do not hesitate to contact a Chicago arson lawyer from our law firm. Our experienced arson lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure you are not taken advantage of in court.