Apr 20

Arson crimes in Illinois refer to the use of fire or explosives to damage property. Not all arson crimes are the same under Illinois law. Depending on the actions and intentions of the arsonist perpetrator, the charge and penalties can fluctuate. The following sections will provide Illinois definitions of and penalties for three different types of arson crimes under 720 ILCS 5/20-1.

What is the Definition of Arson?

The definition of arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(a). There are two variations of arson under Illinois law. Either the offender:

  • Uses fire or explosives to damage another person’s property; or
  • Damages any property using fire or explosives in an attempt to defraud an insurer.

In either of the variations outlined above, the damaged property must be worth $150 or more to qualify as arson under Illinois law.

What is the Penalty for Arson?

The penalty for arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(c). Illinois classifies arson as a Class 2 felony. The potential penalties for a Class 2 felony include a sentence range of three to seven years, fines up to $25,000 and four years of probation.

What is the Definition of Residential Arson?

The definition of residential arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(b). Residential arson occurs when the perpetrator burns another person’s home dwelling. Residential arson applies to partial and total damage from fire or explosives.

What is the Penalty for Residential Arson?

The penalty for residential arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(c). Illinois classifies residential arson as a Class 1 felony. The potential penalties for a Class 1 felony include a sentence range of three to seven years, fines up to $25,000 and four years of probation.

What is the Definition of Place of Worship Arson?

The definition of place of worship arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(b-5). Place of worship arson occurs when the perpetrator knowingly burns a church or other place of worship. Place of worship arson applies to partial and total damage from fire or explosives.

What is the Penalty for Place of Worship Arson?

The penalty for place of worship arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(c). Illinois classifies place of worship arson as a Class 1 felony. Place of worship arson features the same penalties as residential arson.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal 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.

(image courtesy of Yaoqi Lai)