Pursuant to the New York Penal Code, arson generally is defined as intentionally damaging property by either fire or explosion. Property is defined include buildings of all types, as well as land vehicles and watercraft. The New York Penal Code includes five different arson crimes, the lease serious being arson in the fifth degree.
Elements of Arson in the Fifth Degree
Arson in the fifth degree is defined as intentionally damaging the property of another without the owner’s consent by intentionally starting a fire or explosion. The resulting damage need not be extensive for a person to be charged with arson in the fifth degree.
Examples of Arson in the Fifth Degree
An example of the crime of arson in the fifth degree involves a man named Brian who had a fight with his business partner. In order to extract revenge on his business partner, Brian went over to the colleague’s house and lit a tool shed next to the house on fire.
Another example of the crime of arson in the fifth degree involves a woman named Debbie. Debbie was in the midst of a drawn out fight with her neighbor. She had grown frustrated with the neighbor and wanted her to move from the neighborhood. In hopes of causing the neighbor to move, Debbie set the neighbor’s car on fire.
Sentence for Arson in the Fifth Degree
Arson in the fifth degree is a class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious type of misdemeanor. However, in the grand scheme of things, the penalties for misdemeanors are not nearly as significant as those in felony cases.
The maximum sentence possible upon a conviction for arson in the fifth degree is a year in the county jail. If a judge orders probation instead of a jail term, the maximum term of probation would be three years.
A judge is also highly likely to order restitution in a arson in the fifth degree case. In addition, a judge could also elect to impose fines upon a person convicted of arson in the fifth degree.
Defenses to Arson in the Fifth Degree
Tenacious NYC criminal lawyers can pursue effective defenses in arson in the fifth degree cases. One defense against a charge of arson in the fifth degree is that the fire was not intentionally started. The arson in the fifth degree law requires that the property-damaging fire be intentionally started.
Another defense that is possible in a arson in the fifth degree case is the person that caused the fire is the sole owner of the property. A person cannot be charged with this particular type of arson if he or she is the sole owner of the property that is set on fire. An individual may be charged with other crimes in that situation. However, arson in the fifth degree is not a charge that would ultimately stick in that particular scenario.
The best line of defense in a case involving arson in the fifth degree is to retain a skilled, experienced New York criminal lawyer, with experience in representing people in arson cases. The first step in retaining legal representation is scheduling what is called an initial consultation.
During an initial consultation, a lawyer provides an overview of a case. In addition, legal counsel provides answers to any questions a potential client may have regarding the crime of arson in the fifth degree or his or her case. As a general practice in New York, criminal attorneys do not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client in a arson in the fifth degree case.