Arson is defined by the New York Penal Code as the act of damaging a structure by either setting it on fire or by causing an explosion. Arson is divided into several different degrees of severity by the New York Penal Code, which takes into account whether a fire was set intentionally or not, as well as whether or not the structure was occupied at the time of the incident. In the case of arson in the fourth degree, the New York Penal Code describes it as the act of recklessly damaging a building or vehicle by intentionally causing an explosion or starting a fire.
Example of Arson in the Fourth Degree
If in the course of an argument, someone pours gas on another’s vehicle and then lights it on fire, it could be considered arson in the fourth degree. As the law describes it, any act involving setting fire a building or vehicle could be considered arson in the fourth degree.
An actual case once occurred when two men attempted to get the attention of another inside his house. When they poured gasoline over his porch and then set it on fire, he eventually stepped outside to put it out. The the man who poured the gasoline and then set it on fire was then later convicted of arson in the fourth degree.
Defense Against Arson in the Fourth Degree
One of the strongest defenses against arson in the fourth degree is to prove that the defendant did not knowingly or intentionally set fire to the building or vehicle. If the fire or explosion was the result of an accident, then the defendant cannot be found guilty of arson in the fourth degree. As long as a NYC criminal lawyer can prove that the defendant’s actions were the result of an accident rather than malice, they can help their client avoid conviction.
Sentencing for Arson in the Fourth Degree
Arson in the fourth degree is considered to be a class E felony, which means anyone found guilty of it can face up to four years of prison time. Although that may seem serious, there is a potential alternative for those who have no prior convictions. Based on the judge’s discretion, someone found guilty of arson in the fourth degree could potentially face up to five years of probation instead of any prison time. In addition, the court may add fines on to the sentencing, as well as restitution for any costs that the victim of the arson attempt has suffered.
Since an arson in the fourth degree can potentially be very expensive, it’s worth taking the time to seek out a professional attorney to represent any case involving these charges. The risk of a felony conviction like arson in the fourth degree can lead to both fines and prison time. It is for this reason that it is highly recommended to consult with a legal representative before doing anything. Since a case like this will typically hinge on proving that the defendant acted by accident rather than intentionally, it’s worth getting as much legal protection as possible, so as to ensure that the prosecution does not have any extra information to build their case around. Although these cases are serious, that does not mean they’re open and shut. Being charged with arson in the fourth degree does not guarantee a conviction, especially if the defense has built a strong and thorough rebuttal to the prosecution’s arguments.
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