In Georgia, arson in the second degree occurs when a person knowingly uses explosives or fire to cause damage to nonresidential property belonging to another or in which another has a security interest without the owner’s consent. It is also arson in the second degree if a person knowingly damages a nonresidential building by using fire or explosives during the commission of another felony. The nonresidential property may be any:

  • Building
  • Railroad car
  • Vehicle
  • Watercraft
  • Aircraft
  • Other structure

Why Was I Charged When I Was Not the One Who Damaged the Property?

For certain crimes, a person can be guilty of the crime even if they just acted as an accomplice and did not actually commit the crime themselves. A person is an accomplice to a crime when they help accomplish the crime by aiding, encouraging or helping someone commit a crime. Therefore, a person who is an accomplice to the perpetrator in commission of the arson can also be charged with second degree arson.

What Is Considered Accomplice Liability in an Arson Charge?

A person is liable as an accomplice for second degree arson under Georgia law when they knowingly:

  • Cause,
  • Aid,
  • Encourage,
  • Advise,
  • Counsel,
  • Abet,
  • Hire, or
  • Procure another person to commit arson in the second degree.

Will I Be Locked Away for the Rest of My Life If I Am Convicted of This Crime?

No, but the punishment for arson in the second degree may involve some prison time. In Georgia, a person convicted of arson in the second degree faces one to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

Do I Need to Speak to a Lawyer about My Accomplice Liability Arson Charge?

Absolutely. You need to hire a Georgia lawyer to fight your charge. Your criminal lawyer will determine the best defense to use in your case and advise you of all your legal rights.