Arson is a serious crime that involves intentionally setting fire to property. In the state of Wisconsin, arson is a felony offense. The severity of the charges and the potential penalties will depend on factors such as the extent of damage caused, whether there were any injuries or fatalities, and the intent behind the act. Anyone who has been accused of arson, property crimes, violent offenses, or other types of crimes can determine how to protect their rights by working with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Is Arson Under Wisconsin Law?
In Wisconsin, arson is defined under Chapter 943 of the state statutes. According to Section 943.02, a person commits arson if they intentionally damage a building through the use of fire or an explosion without the owner’s consent. The law also covers other forms of arson, including using a fire to damage personal property valued at over $100 (Section 943.03) and setting a fire with the intent to commit fraud against an insurance company (Section 943.04).
Felony Arson Charges and Penalties
In Wisconsin, arson involving intentional destruction to a building is generally classified as a Class C felony offense due to its serious nature and the potential harm it can cause. The penalties for a Class C felony conviction includes a jail sentence of up to 40 years and fines of up to $100,000. If someone was injured due to arson, other criminal charges may also apply.
Arson involving property other than a building, such as a vehicle, is generally charged as a Class I felony. A Class I felony conviction can result in a sentence of three years and six months in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Arson committed with the intent to defraud an insurance company is a Class H felony. This offense carries a maximum sentence of six years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to note that a person who commits arson may also face a civil lawsuit from anyone who was affected. The owner of a building damaged by arson may seek compensation for the financial damages they have suffered, including the costs of repairing or replacing property, as well as expenses related to extinguishing a fire or performing an investigation. Anyone injured in a fire or explosion may also pursue compensation for the damages related to their injuries, or the family members of someone who was killed may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Wisconsin law states that treble damages may be awarded in the case of a wrongful death, meaning that a person who committed arson may be required to pay three times the amount of the victims’ actual losses.
The Importance of Legal Representation
If you or someone you know has been charged with arson in Wisconsin, it is crucial to seek legal representation right away. The consequences of an arson conviction are severe, and they can have long-lasting effects on your life.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to assess the specific details of your case and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation. They will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process while working to achieve the best possible outcome to your case. They will work to minimize the penalties you may face and help you avoid both financial difficulties and consequences, such as a prison sentence.