The illegal drug trade in America is more than just the manufacturing and sale of illicit substances. The black market attracts all manner of criminals and violent behavior, so it’s not unusual to hear of gunfights and attempted murders whenever a deal goes wrong.
Violence during a drug deal is still a criminal offense. Even the act of starting a fire during a controlled substance trade is against the law in Indiana. Regardless of your involvement in the sale or trade of illegal drugs, starting a fire to take out rivals or get rid of evidence can lead to criminal charges.
Controlled substances criminal mischief
Per Indiana law, if a person recklessly or knowingly causes property damage with fire or an explosion during the dealing or manufacturing of a controlled substance, they can face a criminal charge for controlled substances criminal mischief.
This offense is normally a Level 6 felony, but it can upgrade to a Level 5 felony if the fire causes moderate bodily injury to another person.
The penalties for controlled substances criminal mischief
A conviction for a Level 6 felony such as controlled substances criminal mischief leads to up to 2.5 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines. However, if the offense is upgraded to a Level 5 felony, the penalties on conviction are up to six years of prison and $10,000 in fines.
A person charged with controlled substances criminal mischief may also face an additional criminal charge of arson if they intentionally caused a fire to damage another person’s property. Arson is a Level 4 felony that leads to up to 12 years of prison and up to $10,000 in fines, but the penalties can increase if the fire causes injuries.
Intentionally causing a fire, drug deal or not, is a criminal offense. A charge of criminal mischief leads to heavy penalties, regardless of whether the fire injured anyone.