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New York Penal Law 150.20: Arson in the first degree

What is First-Degree Arson?
This is the highest degree of arson that can be committed. A simple definition of the charge is when someone intentionally starts a fire or an explosion of some kind to destroy a building, materials or a home. Arson is a crime that can sometimes be hard to charge as there are times when the defendant is hard to locate. Evidence is sometimes burned in the fire, and there are times when there is no clear indication of fingerprints or other identifying marks of the defendant left at the scene of the crime.

In order for the charge of first-degree arson to hold, there needs to be evidence that the crime committed was intentional. The defendant would need to know and understand that a fire or explosion that was set would cause damage. An aggravating circumstance is another element that the prosecution will look for when seeking arson charges. When the result of the fire and the intent of the fire is to cause harm or severe damage, then it’s considered first-degree in most locations. This would mean that the overall intent is malicious when starting the fire. One of the things that the prosecution will look at is whether the defendant has made threats in the past about setting a fire or has a history of crimes involving a fire. There are times when the defendant might feel that there was no intent when the fire started and claim that it was an accident. If there is any kind of injury, then the prosecution will look to seek an arson charge whether the intent was present or not. The focus of the arson charge is the harm that could be present to someone who is in the building or who is in the outside area. The type of property can also be a factor in first-degree arson. If the building is a church, school or home that is occupied, then a first-degree charge is more likely than a lesser degree.

Examples Of First-Degree Arson
When someone needs or wants money, that person might set fire to a home in order to collect the insurance money. This would be an example of malicious intent. Another example of arson would be setting fire to a home to terrorize or threaten the people who are inside or even those who live in the home as they would see the destruction when they return. If a fire is set with the intention to harm someone or cause the death of someone or an animal, then this would be considered arson. Setting a fire in a wooded area where a large amount of land would burn would also be charged as arson.

Arson Defenses
A NYC criminal attorney will often challenge the prosecution to prove that there was an intent with the starting of the fire. At times, the defendant might admit to starting the fire but claim that there wasn’t an intent to cause any real damage or injury. An example would be someone who sets a fire to a house over the Fourth of July holiday. The intent might not have been there, but a home or building in the area might have been destroyed because of a bottle rocket or another type of explosive landing on a roof or on the ground close to the building. The defense would be that the fire was accidental.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
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17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

New York Penal Law 150.15: Arson in the second degree

Property damage caused by an explosion or setting it on fire falls under arson law. Vehicles, commercial buildings, residential buildings, and watercraft that can be used for business or lodging are considered property structures. In New York, there are a total of five degrees that an arson crime can fall under depending on the severity of circumstances. Arson in the second degree is a serious charge that could lead to a prosecution in the following circumstances:

A. An individual deliberately starts a fire or causes an explosion that damages a building,
B. There is at least one person in the vehicle or building at the time the fire or explosion occurs, and
C. The individual that set the fire was aware that there was a person inside the vehicle or building.

1. A young man is abruptly fired while working his shift at a local fast food restaurant, and he makes the decision to retaliate against his former employer. He sets a fire inside a lobby trashcan before walking out of the establishment, and it is extinguished before workers or patrons are harmed. Although the defendant in this case didn’t hurt the people inside the building, his actions would be considered arson in the second degree. Not only was the fire set deliberately, but the defendant was aware of other people inside the establishment.

2. In 2011, People v. Hendricksen lead to a second degree arson conviction on defendant Pierre Hendricksen. He was accused of intentionally setting fire to a mattress in the basement apartment of his ex-wife. It’s reasonable to believe that an apartment building would always have occupants, with no exception to the day that Hendricksen started the fire. The conviction of arson in the second degree in this case was based on knowledge of building occupancy at the time that the fire was set.

New York penal law 150.15 Sentencing
Arson in the second degree in the state of New York is a major crime, classified as a class B felony. If convicted, you could face a maximum of 25 years in prison upon a review of the circumstances. Second degree arson is often considered a violent felony offense that carries a minimum of 5 years, even for an individual with no prior convictions.

Constructing a Defense
One of the most important parts of fighting a second degree arson charge is proving that the defendant wasn’t aware that the building was occupied. It must be proven within a reasonable doubt that the defendant has reason to believe that the vehicle or building was empty at the time that the fire was started. In addition, an attorney may find it best to prove that the fire or explosion was not caused intentionally by the defendant.

Consult Our nyc criminal attorneys
Arson in the second degree is a major felony charge that could lead to many years in prison if convicted. With your freedom on the line, you need a team of defense attorneys that will take the case seriously. Our lawyers care about the future of all clients, and we build every single case with the attention that it deserves. If you’ve been accused of arson in the second degree, we offer a free consultation to give you the opportunity to see how we can help you move forward.

New York Penal Law 150.10: Arson in the Third Degree

Arson is considered a serious offense in the New York Penal Code. The Code delineates five different arson offenses. The New York Penal Code considers arson to be a serious crime. As a result, the New York penal code provides for stiff penalties in cases in which a person is found guilty of arson in the third degree.

The penalties for arson, including arson in the third degree, can include extended prison terms. In addition, the arson laws commonly call for a person to face a fine upon conviction and an on order to pay restitution for the losses sustained because of the fire.

Elements of Arson in the Third Degree

The elements of the crime of arson in the third degree are fairly straightforward. First, the fire itself must be intentionally started. Second, the fire must result in damage to property. The property can be a building of some type, a motor vehicle, or a watercraft.

Examples of Arson in the Third Degree

An example of arson in the third degree could involves a business owner who was having financial issues. The business owner elected to set his business on fire in order to collect the insurance money. Even though he solely owned the business himself, he had an unlawful purpose for starting the fire.

Another example of arson in the third degree arises from a situation in which an angry former boyfriend, sets his ex-girlfriend’s car on fire. The act of setting the ex-girlfriend’s car on fire in this manner would constitute arson in the third degree.

Sentence for Arson in the Third Degree

According to the New York Penal Code, arson in the third degree is classified as a class C felony. As a result, a person convicted of arson in the third degree can face the prospect of a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted of this crime. In addition, a person convicted of arson in the third degree is also likely to face a restitution order at the time of sentencing. A person convicted of this crime may also be required to pay a significant penalty as well.

Defenses to Arson in the Third Degree

NYC criminal defense lawyers can aid in mounting a defense to a charge of arson in the third degree. There are in fact a number of different potential defenses to the crime of arson in the third degree.

One defense to arson in the third degree is that the fire was not intentionally set, but rather ignited by accident. In order to be guilty of the crime of arson in the third degree, the fire must have been intentionally set by the alleged perpetrator.

Another defense to the crime of arson in the third degree is that the perpetrator of the fire started the fire itself for a lawful purpose. If the person who started the fire is not the only owner, all of the owners of the property would need to agree to starting of the fire.

A New York criminal defense attorney will schedule an initial consultation with a person being investigated for, or who has been charged with, arson in the third degree. A criminal defense lawyer will provide an overall evaluation of a arson in the third degree case. In addition, legal counsel will provide answers to any questions facing arson in the third degree charges might have regarding is or her case or the associated law. As a matter of general practice in New York, an attorney does not charge a legal fee for a consultation in a arson in the third degree case.

New York Penal Law 150.05: Arson in the fourth degree

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.

New York Penal Law 150.01: Arson in the fifth degree

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.

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