Is Arson Considered A Mental Illness?

Is Arson Considered A Mental Illness?


Is Arson Considered A Mental Illness?

Depending on the extent of the damages and your intent, an arson charge can lead to three years to life in prison. But if your actions were not under your control because of an existing mental illness, the charges may be revised.

How Arson Can Be Considered a Mental Illness

Arson is defined as the deliberate and malicious charring or burning of property. Besides homes, the law also covers fires set on boats and forests, and a property doesn’t have to be owned by anyone for you to get an arson charge. Intent to damage or destroy with a fire or even an explosion can be considered arson, punishable by law.

However, if you weren’t responsible for your actions because of an existing mental illness, an experienced Palos Heights arson defense attorney can ensure your voice is heard.

This is based on research and analysis. Studies show that fire-setters such as arsonists are more likely to get psychiatric services than other offenders. 10% to 50% of patients admitted to psychiatric facilities have a record of arson or fire, especially in their teens or early adulthood. The act is also linked to schizophrenia.

In juveniles, arson is connected to anti-social behavior brought on by sexual abuse. The victims differ from other offenders with their lack of social and coping skills and persistent suicidal thoughts resulting from their abuse. While most arsonists are male, female fire starters are not uncommon. Most of the latter are also often diagnosed with mental health disorders such as depression and personality disorder.

How Arsonists Are Viewed Today

Arsonists are treated with more compassion today than they were a few years ago. Today, it is not a crime as much as a mental illness. Punishing fire-setters who plead insanity becomes a moral and ethical issue if it is considered the latter.

A Palos Heights arson defense attorney can protect your rights if you are charged with arson and have a history of mental illness. A lack of motive on your part can help, as can proof that another party was responsible for the fire. Your defense attorney can ensure circumstantial evidence is disregarded.

They can also ensure that the jury has sufficient information to understand that the prosecution must prove you guilty. The burden of proving your innocence falls on them, which can get tricky.

Contact Michael D. Ettinger & Associates for a Consultation Today!

If you were charged with arson, a Palos Heights arson attorney from Michael D. Ettinger & Associates could ensure your rights are protected. During the first meeting, we will take time to listen to your side of the events and examine the information surrounding your arrest and the circumstances leading up to it.

Once the preliminary review is done, the attorney will explain your options to you and the legal strategy they will take. The real work starts once this phase is over. Contact us for a completely confidential and in-depth meeting by dialing 708-923-0368. We have years of experience providing legal defense services and can ensure your voice is heard no matter how aggressive your opponents are.