Arson is one of the most commonly charged and prosecuted crimes in the United States. It is also a very serious crime, and the consequences can be harsh for those who are convicted of it.
There are many reasons why someone may be charged with arson. These include:
Often, fires are caused by natural events like lightning strikes or by accidents such as a gas leak, lightbulb breaking, or electrical malfunctions. In these cases, the prosecution has a difficult time proving that the defendant had malicious intent when starting the fire.
In these situations, your lawyer may be able to poke holes in the evidence. This could involve presenting evidence of how the fire started, or providing information that would prove that there was not sufficient evidence to charge you with arson.
Accidents Are Not Enough to Prove Intent
Unless the defendant acts recklessly in starting the fire, there is no malicious intent. However, if the defendant was not aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk, it can be difficult to prove that they did not have malicious intent when they set fire to the property.
If you are facing a charge of arson, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the complex and often confusing laws and regulations that govern arson offenses, and ensure that your rights are protected.
The Punishment of Arson
Depending on the degree of the offense, the punishment for arson can be a misdemeanor or felony. The severity of the offense and the type of property involved in the fire are factors that determine the penalties.
There are a number of different types of arson charges in New York, including:
Arson in the Fourth Degree (Class E felony): This is the most common offense, and it is punishable by up to 1-15 years in prison. Moreover, the penalty for this crime is not subject to any sentencing enhancements, meaning that it is a very serious offense with heavy penalties.
This crime can be committed if you set fire to any property that has a habitual use and is occupied by another person. This includes any dwelling house, apartment building, schoolhouse, church, or other place where a person lives.
The penalties for this crime vary depending on the severity of the offense, as well as the type of property that was burned and whether bodily harm resulted.
Unlike most other crimes, there are certain defenses for arson that can be used to minimize the charges or even get them dismissed altogether. This is especially important if the defendant was a child at the time of the crime.
An experienced NYC arson lawyer can help you gather evidence and make a case for your innocence, so that you can avoid jail time and severe consequences.
Reckless Burning is a lesser offense in many states and is punished differently.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Warner & Warner for a free consultation. During your appointment, we will review the specific facts of your case and discuss your options for a positive outcome.