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.
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.
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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