Arson is a serious crime in Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin – and if the court convicts you of it, you’re looking at felony-level penalties. If you’ve been accused of arson, whether or not you’re guilty, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to a Milwaukee arson defense lawyer as soon as you can. Here’s what you need to know about this crime and its penalties.
What is Arson?
Under Wisconsin law, arson is intentionally damaging a building or property by fire or explosives without the owner’s consent, or using fire or explosives to damage a building in order to commit insurance fraud. The reason someone sets fire to a building or property doesn’t matter – it’s illegal to do it without the owner’s consent or to defraud an insurance company.
What Kind of Crime is Arson in Wisconsin?
Arson is a felony in Wisconsin, which means the penalties are a lot harsher than they are for other crimes (like misdemeanors). With felony crimes, prison is one of the possible consequences. So is extended supervision, which is time after release from prison. Under extended supervision, the person must report to a parole officer on a regular basis.
Arson can be a Class C, Class I or Class H felony. It’s a Class C felony if you damaged property using explosives or if you damaged a building by fire – either to defraud an insurer or for another reason. Arson becomes a Class I felony if you committed arson against property other than a building, and it’s a Class H felony if you burn property (but not a building) with the intent to defraud an insurer.
Each has its own consequences:
- Class C felonies can include up to 40 years of imprisonment (25 years in prison and 15 years on extended supervision) with a fine of up to $100,000
- Class H felonies can include up to 6 years of imprisonment (3 years in prison and 3 years on extended supervision) with a fine of up to $10,000
- Class I felonies can include up to 3 years, 6 months of imprisonment (1 year, 6 months in prison and 2 years on extended supervision) with a fine of up to $10,000
What to Do if You’re Accused of Arson
Being accused of arson is incredibly scary whether or not you actually committed the crime. Even if you’re innocent, a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney can help you.
If you’ve been charged with arson, or if you’re about to be charged with arson, we may be able to defend you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 for a free case review. We’ll ask you some questions and answer your questions, and if we work together, we’ll put together a defense strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.