Apr 17

A 37-year-old man from Bloomington, Illinois faces aggravated arson charges after allegedly setting his residence on fire, according to an article by The Pantagraph

This incident occurred in the afternoon of Monday, April 13th in the 800 block of East Bissell Street. That is when and where the Bloomington man apparently started a residential house fire, even though a woman and a teenage minor were present. 

The Bloomington Police and Fire departments responded to this incident after receiving complaints of a domestic dispute and house fire. Firefighters were able to minimize the impact by containing the blaze to the bedroom. While there was heavy smoke and intense heat, first responders did not report any physical injuries. 

After starting their investigation, which is still ongoing, the Bloomington Police and Fire departments found evidence that the fire was intentional. Consequently, police officers arrested the Bloomington man and charged him with aggravated arson. 

At this point, the Bloomington man remains in the McLean County Jail after neglecting to post $15,035 in bail. His arraignment is currently scheduled for May 8th. While this legal case continues to develop, it seems appropriate to review the Illinois laws against and punishment for aggravated arson.

Illinois Laws Against Aggravated Arson

Illinois law under 720 ILCS 5/20-1.1 provides the definition of aggravated arson. There are two elements to this offense. First, 

a perpetrator must commit arson and knowingly damage, whether partially or totally, any:

  • Buildings or structures;
  • Adjacent buildings or structures;
  • School buildings;
  • House trailers;
  • Watercraft;
  • Motor vehicles; or
  • Railroad cars. 

Second, aggravated arson must involve any or all of the following conditions:

  • The perpetrator knows, or should know, that there are people present at the site of the fire or explosion;
  • Any person suffers serious physical harm or permanent disability or disfigurement from the fire or explosion; or
  • A firefighter, police officer, or correctional officer, acting in their official capacities, sustains injury from the fire or explosion.

Illinois Punishment for Aggravated Arson

Section 20-1.1 also establishes the Illinois punishment for aggravated arson crimes. Any person who commits aggravated arson is guilty of a Class X felony in Illinois. If convicted for a Class X felony, an offender will face the following punishment structure:

  • Sentence range of six to 30 years in prison;
  • Extended term of 30 to 60 years in prison;
  • Criminal fines up to $25,000; and
  • Mandatory supervised release of three years.

Illinois law prohibits probation or conditional discharge for Class X felonies.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.