What Is Arson?
Arson occurs when a person intentionally sets a fire or causes an explosion for the purpose of burning a building or, in some states, any property. The person must have the intention of burning the building or, at least, must realize there is a substantial risk and disregard it. Accidental fires are not arson.
Is It Arson If You Burn Down Your Own Building?
Yes, if you intentionally set fire to and burn your own building for the purposes of insurance fraud or otherwise, you are still guilty of arson.
Are There Different Degrees of Arson?
Yes. However, the way the degrees are defined varies from state to state. Some factors states consider in establishing degrees of arson are:
- The type of building burned: burning a house, school, or church is a worse kind of arson than burning an abandoned building
- The value of the building burned
- The proximity of other people to the structure that is burned: burning a building in an area where people are likely to be hurt is worse than burning a building in an area that is deserted
- Whether the arsonist paid or accepted payment for the burning of the building
What Are the Consequences of Arson?
Depending on the degree of arson and the prevailing state law, possible consequences of arson could include:
- A felony charge
- A misdemeanor charge
- Jail or prison time
- Homicide charges, if anyone was killed by the fire
What Should I Do If I'm Accused of Arson?
If you are accused of arson, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer. A good criminal defense lawyer will let you know what your rights are and will represent you in court.
What Should I Do If I'm the Victim of Arson?
If you think you are the victim of arson, you should contact a criminal prosecution lawyer. A criminal prosecution lawyer will let you know if you have a valid claim and will pursue your interests in court.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 11-19-2013 10:29 AM PST
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