What is Arson?
New York Article 150 of the Penal Code is specially formulated to deal with arson, highlighting the seriousness of the crime in modern society. Arson in law is defined as setting fire or causing an explosion with malicious intent. It is also understood as a crime of recklessly and intentionally setting a destructive fire that causes damage to the intended property or even others near it.
To appreciate the seriousness of this crime, you just have to consider that it has a specialized team under Fire Departments in NY. There are also specially trained prosecutors on the case of a person accused with arson. This is based on the financial risks arson poses in crowded metropolitan areas such as Long Island.
Once you or a loved one is charged under Article 150, you need to immediately contact us at the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq., where we have professional arson attorneys to represent you. Our exposure to NY state laws is our major strength and this will ensure effective representation in your case.
Degrees of Arson
There are five levels of arson severity, each with its specific punishment. To determine where a specific arson crime falls, consider the following:
- The accused person’s intent in starting a fire
- Risks posed by the fire to people
- Type of property damaged
Arson in the Fifth Degree
It is classified as a Class A misdemeanor in NY laws. It occurs when a person intentionally damages property belonging to another through a fire or explosion. It carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail or a minimum alternative sentence where one can avoid jail time.
Arson in the Fourth Degree
This is a Class E felony in NY and is charged when a person recklessly damages a motor vehicle or building by starting a fire. According to §150.05 of NY penal laws, it carries a minimum sentence of one to three years and a maximum penalty of four years in jail.
Arson in the Third Degree
Under § 150.10, this is classified a Class C violent felony in NY and is charged when a person intentionally damages a motor vehicle or building by starting a fire or causing an explosion. It carries a minimum sentence of three and a half years and a maximum of 15 years in jail.
Arson in the Second Degree
This is a serious Class B violent felony in the state which carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum jail time of up to 25 years. It is charged under specific situations where a person intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle with the knowledge that someone else who is not a participant in the act is inside or present at the time.
Arson in the First Degree
A person is charged with arson in the first degree when:
- They intentionally damage a building or vehicle by starting a fire or causing an explosion, and this is caused by an explosive device thrown or placed near the building or vehicle and either someone other than the accused person is injured or the accused acted in this manner for financial gain.
Severity of first degree arson is the same as murder. It is classified as an A-1 violent felony carrying a minimum jail sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years to life imprisonment.
Charged with Arson
If you are charged with arson, the immediate course of action should be calling a criminal attorney. The first few hours after you are arrested and charged are critical in gathering evidence and determining the course of action.
Arson cases are very intensive and legal arguments are always convoluted. This makes it even more urgent to get a reputable criminal lawyer to handle the case. With experience handling major suits in NY, our attorneys at The Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. are skillfully suited to handle your arson case. We are ready and willing to work together and assist you with your case.
Contact us today!