Psychological Reasons For Committing Arson

Psychological Reasons For Committing Arson


Psychological Reasons For Committing Arson

In recent times, there have been many media reports of tragic fires in the US, and sometimes they are set intentionally. For instance, in 2018, a 51-year-old man was charged with setting the Southern California Holy Fire. These incidents, unfortunately, are common.

It is estimated that approximately 260,000 intentional fires were set in the United States between 20120 and 2014, leading to 440 deaths and 1,310 injuries. Arson is a serious crime, but sometimes there are psychological reasons that the accused engages in such behavior. If you have been charged with this crime, our Illinois arson defense lawyer at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates would like to speak to you.

What Is Arson?

Arson is when a person deliberately burns or chars property. Illinois law covers homes, boats, and forests, and the property does not have to be owned by someone for the perpetrator to get an arson charge.

Why Do People Intentionally Set Fires?

There is no single reason individuals commit arson, but enough research has been done on arsonists to point to common psychological threads. For example, psychology Today states that arsonists are more likely to register with mental health services than other criminals and are four times more likely than non-criminals. Furthermore, between 10-50% of people in medium-security mental health facilities have a history of setting fires.

People who set fires in adolescence and early adulthood have a higher rate of schizophrenia in their later years. Setting fires also is associated with juveniles committing cruelty to animals, and males who were victims of sexual abuse are the most statistically common.

Arsonists also have a different criminal profile than other violent criminals; they are often socially isolated and unable to cope with the stresses of life. Firesetters also have a higher rate of suicide than control groups.

How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With Arson Charges

Arsonists receive more compassion today than years ago. It is more widely understood that while the action is criminal, an underlying mental illness is often involved. An Illinois arson defense lawyer may be able to protect your rights if you were charged with arson and have a history of mental problems. It also helps if you do not have a motive for committing the alleged crime.

Your attorney also will ensure that a jury has enough information about your mental health and know that the state prosecutor is required to prove your guilt. A skilled attorney can also ensure that circumstantial evidence is not considered during the case.

Call Our Illinois Arson Defense Lawyer Now

Being charged with arson in Illinois is frightening, and without a strong defense, you could be convicted of a Class 2 felony and receive a prison sentence between three and seven years. If you are convicted of the related charge of residential arson, this is a Class 1 felony, and you also can get up to seven years in prison.

Fortunately, it is more conceivable today for an arsonist to receive lighter punishments because of an underlying mental illness. Our Illinois arson defense lawyer at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates can help, so call (708) 923-0368.