Nov 10

Two men face criminal charges for attempted murder and aggravated arson after they allegedly hit, stabbed, and then lit a victim on fire in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, according to an article by The Southern. The Cave-in-Rock Fire Department arrived on the scene in response to a structural fire. Firefighters found the victim in rough shape, bleeding from his wounds and suffering from burns. At that point, the fire had spread to the victim’s residence.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the residential fire and transport the victim for medical treatment. Based on the victim’s identification of his assailants, authorities arrested and charged the alleged perpetrators.  

The Illinois State Police, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office continue to work in concert to investigate these crimes. In the meantime, it feels like a great time to review Illinois laws and penalties concerning arson.

What is the Illinois Definition of Arson?

We can find the Illinois state definition of arson under 720 ILCS 5/20-1. Essentially, arson occurs when a perpetrator damages another person’s property with fire or explosives. Generally speaking, arson applies to property worth at least $150. Arson does not apply if the property owner consented to the perpetrator’s actions.

Arson can become aggravated arson under certain circumstances. If the perpetrator commits arson knowing that there are people inside the property, then it is aggravated arson. The same applies for any arson that results in severe harm or injury to a victim. It is also aggravated arson if the resulting fire leads to injury of a firefighter or police officer.

What are the Penalties for Arson in Illinois?

In most cases, arson represents a Class 2 felony in Illinois. The penalty scheme for a Class 2 felony in Illinois features a sentence range of three to seven years, extended term of seven to 14 years and fines up to $25,000.

If the perpetrator commits arson at a residential home or a religious place of worship, then the crime escalates to a Class 1 felony. The penalty scheme for a Class 1 felony in Illinois features a sentence range of four to 15 years, extended term of 15 to 30 years and fines up to $25,000.

In the worst cases, aggravated arson represents a Class X felony. The penalty scheme for a Class X felony in Illinois features a sentence range of six to 30 years, extended term of 30 to 60 years, and fines up to $25,000.

Do You Need Legal Counsel from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. Without a sound strategy and an aggressive defense, you could miss out on your best chance for a positive outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and navigate toward an effective resolution.

Serving the counties of Dewitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford, The Prior Law Firm is located in Bloomington, Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to the practice of Illinois criminal law. If you need legal advice concerning any criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.

You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or online by completing a simple form.

(image courtesy of Yaoqi Lai)