In Wisconsin, arson is a Class C Felony. The maximum sentence for a Class C Felony is 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine.
In order to be found guilty of arson, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally damaged a building using fire or explosives without the owner’s permission. You can also be charged with arson if there is enough evidence to prove that it is probable that you intentionally used fire or explosives to damage physical property that is not a building and is worth more than $100. This type of arson offense is a Class I Felony. Similarly, you can be charged with arson if there is enough evidence to show that you may have used fire to damage property for the purpose of defrauding an insurance company. This type of arson offense is a Class H Felony.
There are several potential defenses against arson charges, some of which are listed below. First, an attorney can argue that you did not cause the damage intentionally; rather, the damage was accidental. Second, an attorney can argue that the value of the property is less than what is alleged. Third, an attorney can argue that you did not cause the damage using fire or explosives. Fourth, an attorney can argue that you did not cause damage to a “building” but to a piece of physical property that is worth less than $100 in value. Because each defense can depend on specific facts of each case, which can mean a defense may apply in one case but not another similar case, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you evaluate the strength of your possible defenses. Please contact an attorney at our firm for a consultation and we look forward to discussing your case in detail.