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What Is Arson?

Arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning or charring of property or structure. Previously, arson only could be committed when a person sets fire to a house or residence of another. Arson laws have now expanded to cover other types of property such as commercial property, forest land, and boats. Arson statutes typically classify arson as a felony due to the potential types of serious injury or death it can cause. Arson laws also exist in every state, though there are some different distinctions between how each state law punishes or categorizes the crime of arson.

The elements of arson are:

Is It Arson If You Burn Down Your Own Building?

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. In the past, arson laws only applied when one set fire to a house of another. However, now there are many types of arson laws set in place to prevent people to intentionally and fraudulently causing fire.

What Are the Different Degrees of Arson?

Many states have places different degrees of arson. The degrees of arson is based on different factors that vary from state to state. Some factors states consider in establishing degrees of arson are:

High degrees of arson will result in stricter punishments and penalties. The punishments and penalties also depend on the amount of damage that occurred to the property and whether there was any type of injury or death that resulted from the arson.

What Are the Consequences of Arson?

Depending on the degree of arson and the prevailing state law, possible consequences of arson could include:

What Should I Do If I Am 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. The crime of arson is a very serious matter and all arson matters are investigated by top law enforcement units who use the most advanced chemical tests to locate the focal point of the fire and how the fire started. Investigators also look into the motivation behind the arson such as to hide another crime including murder and for financial or insurance purposes.


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Last Modified: 07-14-2015 10:32 PM PDT

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