Arson Charges in Wisconsin: Felony Destruction of Property
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.
Commiting 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!