According to (Wis. Stat. § 943.02), the penalty for arson of a building is a Class C felony, with a fine of up to $100,000, 40 years in prison or both. Arson of property other than a building is a Class I felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to $10,000, 3.5 years in prison or both.
Arson charges in Wisconsin felony property destruction penalties & defenses
In Wisconsin, most property damage is considered a Class A misdemeanor. But once fire is involved, things start heating up and you could be looking at Class C felony charges. What is a Class C felony? This is defined as a crime punishable by 40 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.
Criminal Penalties for Arson & Felony Destruction of Property in Wisconsin
The law is very strict when it comes to arson. To be a Class C felony, the building in question does not need to be totally destroyed, merely damaged. It need not be occupied, nor does this crime necessarily include any element of threat or violence. The arson may have merely been committed to defraud an insurer, not harm or kill anyone. The fact is, setting fire to a building can have you sent to prison for decades. If the purpose of setting fire to, or detonating an explosive in, the building was to affect some kind of political change or intimidation, you could be investigated as a domestic terrorist.
Sentences and Fines for Arson Charges
Potential sentences are slightly lower in cases of arson to property other than a building. This is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 3 years and 6 months in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. However, prison sentences can increase to 6 years if the arson was carried out for the purpose of defrauding an insurer (a Class H felony). Also considered a Class H felony is owning, making, or selling Molotov cocktails.
Intent to Commit Arson
Suppose you place combustible material with the intent of blowing up or setting fire to some property but don’t follow through with it or are interrupted. This crime can be charged in a variety of ways depending on the particulars, such as the nature of the property, who owns it, the purpose of the attempt, and whether the property is a building or not.
Committing Arson with Injury
If someone is injured in the fire, they may sue you for damages, and the amount awarded to them will be tripled, including attorney’s fees and so forth. If you also have to pay a fine for the crime of the arson itself, the total of the fine plus tripled damages can easily plunge you into financial ruin.
Get a Lawyer for Arson Charges in Wisconsin
Because arson is such a serious charge with life-destroying penalties, you need a lawyer with a proven track record of success. Our criminal defense attorneys at Grieve Law in Waukesha have a well-deserved reputation for winning. When we accept a client, we work tirelessly to provide them with a zealous and vigorous defense, and we are very proud of our ability to win cases that seemed challenging at the outset. Don’t hesitate to call us today for your free consultation!
Are you facing FELONY arson charges in Wisconsin?
Depending on the severity of your arson-related crime, you could be facing a long prison sentence and/or a hefty fine. The best way to lessen the penalties for an arson charge is to hire an educated, experienced criminal defense attorney that's delt with these types of charges before - Grieve Law.
- Arson of a building - Committing the Arson of a building could result in a Class C felony. This type of felony is punishable by up to 40 years in state prison and fines up to $100,000.
- Arson with the intent to defraud - Committing arson with the intent to defraud in Wisconsin will typically be classified as a Class H felony. A 6-year state prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000 is expected when charged with a Class H felony.
- Arson of any property except a building - If you've committed arson of property (excluding a building) you could be charged with a Class I felony. A class I felony is punishable by up to 3.5 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.
Contact our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation and a powerful defense.
In Wisconsin, how long does an arson charge stay on your record?
Arson is a serious charge that can be fought in court because if convicted, on top of a potential $10,000 or $100,000 fine and up to 40 years in jail, the convictions would likely stay on your record for life in Wisconsin.
How to Beat Arson & Felony Property Destruction Charges
Arson charges are no joke. Intentionally starting a fire can lead to getting charged with a Class C Felony. If you’re facing arson charges, the best thing you can do for yourself is to find a qualified attorney immediately.
Tom Grieve has plenty of experience advocating for the rights of the criminally accused. Dozens of clients have been spared from life-shattering penalties thanks to Grieve Law’s dedication to getting charges reduced or dropped completely.
No other law firm in Milwaukee has an equal reputation for criminal charges dropped or reduced. You can retain any attorney you want, but be warned-relying on legal counsel that doesn’t have the skill or expertise of Grieve Law is like playing with fire.