Penalties for Arson in Illinois

Updated on 02/27/2024 / Under

The penalties for arson in Illinois depend on the severity of the crime. The crime of arson is classified as a felony and can carry a variety of severe penalties, including jail time, fines, probation, and restitution.

In Illinois, arson convictions such as worship arson and arson of real property can carry other consequences such as loss of driving privileges and prohibition from owning firearms. Those convicted with the charge of arson may also be required to pay restitution for any damages caused by their actions.

In addition to the criminal penalties, those convicted of property damage arson in Illinois may also face civil liability. Victims of arson can file a personal injury lawsuit against the offender to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages related to the crime. The court may also order the defendant to pay punitive damages as part of civil litigation.

Victims of arson can potentially receive compensation via the Illinois Arson Program, which offers financial aid to those impacted by arson-related events. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Ktenas Law can provide legal defense assistance. Schedule a free consultation today, call us at (312) 756-8652.

What is Arson in Illinois?

Arson is a type of vandalism defined as the deliberate ignition of property beyond reasonable doubt that causes either $150 or more damage to property or intends to defraud an insurer, resulting in over $150 worth of damage.

Depending on the types of properties, the scenario, or previous convictions, arson can be charged as a Class 2 felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a hefty fine of up to $25,000.

a fire extinguisher and handcuffs on a desk

If a residential property or a place of worship is damaged due to arson or you are found in possession of explosives, charges can be upgraded to a Class 1 felony charge with potential sentences ranging from 4 to 15 years in prison and possible fines totaling $25,000.

These punishments for arson show how seriously the different types of arson crimes are taken within the state and demonstrate that any person who breaks this law could face extremely severe consequences for their actions.

To avoid such felony crime punishments, individuals should always take precautions when dealing with open flames or explosives in public infrastructure like residences and places of worship. Doing so could prevent citizens from facing harsh imprisonment sentences based on severe crimes such as arson.

How Does Illinois Law Define Aggravated Arson?

Under the Aggravated Arson statute aggravated arson is a serious crime in Illinois that carries higher penalties than regular arson charges. Under the state’s arson laws, aggravated arson is defined as arson involving an aggravating factor or element.

Generally, if a person sets fire to someone else’s building or property with malicious intent using an explosive compound he or she could be charged with aggravated arson. Additionally, the crime could arise when someone fraudulently sets fire to his or her property.

Prosecutors and peace officers have the option of taking a deep dive into perpetrators' history showing that they had malicious intent by demonstrating prior planning of the fire, suspicious activities, or evidence of a troubled history with the owner of the property. They can research where you were and who you were with when the incident in question occurred.

FAQ: How Much Does a Defense Attorney Cost?

The penalties for this illegal activity offense are severe and can include a minimum sentence in prison and expensive fines.

Those charged with aggravated arson need to understand their rights and the negative impact a sentence for arson can have on their lives and contact an attorney who specializes in criminal felony offenses as soon as possible.

A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the evidence of your role in arson and ensure that it satisfies all the legal requirements for a conviction on aggravated arson charges.

This understanding of your role in arson felony charges is important because, without proof of certain elements such as proof of physical injury or a murder conviction, prosecutors may face challenges in securing a conviction.

Other Types of Arson Charges in Illinois

In addition to the felony arson crimes listed in Illinois statute, there are other types of arson-related offenses that carry penalties. These include reckless burning, malicious destruction of property, and soliciting or procuring another to commit arson.

Reckless burning is defined as the unauthorized starting of a fire or explosion without regard for the safety or property of others. It is a Class A misdemeanor and can result in a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.

Malicious destruction of property is defined as the intentional destruction of another person’s property without their permission. This crime is a Class 4 felony with a potential penalty of 1-3 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

The act of soliciting or procuring someone else's involvement in setting fire with the intention of destroying or damaging a building or property, often to commit insurance fraud, is known as arson-related insurance fraud. This crime is a Class 3 felony and can result in a sentence of 2-5 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

What Are the Penalties for an Arson Conviction in Illinois?

In most cases, arson is considered a Class 2 felony if someone causes damage to personal property or if someone sets fire to a residential property with the intent to defraud insurance companies. This type of residential arson is punishable by between three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Arson committed on a government building, school, or place of worship is categorized as a Class 1 felony. The penalty includes imprisonment for 4 to 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

In cases where someone commits arson that results in death, permanent disability, or serious bodily injury to another person, the perpetrator can be charged with aggravated arson. This is considered a Class X felony and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison or even life in prison without parole.

firefighters standing in front of a fire

Arson is classified as a serious crime in Illinois and can result in charges of both a criminal and civil nature. Depending on the severity of the crime, individuals found guilty of arson may face prison time, probation, criminal fines, rehabilitation programs, or restitution costs.

Individuals charged with aggravated arson in Illinois may face more severe penalties than those for simple arson, including longer jail sentences or higher fines. There may be enhanced penalties if the arson causes great bodily harm or disfigurement to another person, or if a police officer, fireman, or correctional officer is injured.

It is recommended that anyone facing criminal charges seek legal assistance from experienced lawyers who specialize in these types of cases.

How Law Enforcement Investigates Arson Crimes in Chicago and Illinois

Investigating arson crimes in the state of Illinois is a meticulous and difficult process, and law enforcement communities are committed to ensuring they have the latest tools and capabilities for tracking down arsonists. This commitment is evident in how these groups have set up special units within law enforcement to primarily investigate arson cases.

The official responsible for investigating suspicious fires in Illinois is the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshall, which utilizes sophisticated technology – such as gas chromatography and thermal imaging cameras – to determine the origin of a fire. Of course, it’s also important for investigators to review any evidence that suggests a motive behind an arson crime.

While it may be difficult to always prove who or what started certain fires, prosecutors still can choose to charge individuals with arson fraudulent intent even when investigators weren’t able to identify a source with certainty.

Avoid Strict Penalties for an Arson Conviction

If you are convicted of arson in Illinois, the penalties can be very severe. Depending on the severity and location of the arson, you may face large fines or even prison time. To avoid such strict penalties, it is important to understand your rights and take steps to defend yourself if you have been accused of arson in Illinois.

The first step to take is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you explore all the options available to you. Your attorney can work with prosecutors and law enforcement to negotiate a plea bargain or other alternative sentence or build an aggressive defense strategy depending on your circumstances.

Contact an Aggressive Arson Defense Lawyer Ktenas Law

If you have been charged with arson in the state of Illinois, you must contact an aggressive arson defense lawyer as soon as possible. Ktenas Law can provide experienced representation to help protect your rights and work to get the best outcome for your case.

In Illinois, arson is a Class 2 felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to help you through this difficult time.

Ktenas Law has the experience and resources necessary to provide you with an aggressive defense and the best possible result for your case. Contact us today for more information.