Criminal recklessness centers around the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the criminal act. Washington State accuses a person of criminal recklessness when they knowingly take the risk, even after and foreseeing risks and dangers involved in a particular act. For criminal recklessness, the action may even cause property damage or place people’s safety at risk.

How is Reckless Burning in the Second Degree Defined in Washington State?

Second degree reckless burning is when a defendant knowingly created an explosion or fire on a property, and recklessly placing it in danger of damage or destruction. The property could be the defendant’s or property of another person. Property is considered:

  • Building
  • Structure
  • Cut or standing timber
  • Standing or cut crop
  • Grain
  • Hay
  • Watercraft
  • Railway car
  • Aircraft

How is this Charge different from Reckless Burning in the First Degree?

Reckless burning in the first degree is charged when a defendant knowingly caused an explosion or fire, which caused reckless damage to a structure or building. If convicted, a defendant can face up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Why Does Washington State Consider Reckless Burning an Arson Charge?

Reckless burning is considered an arson charge because the defendant willfully and maliciously burns or chars a structure or property. Reckless burning occurs when someone sets fire or causes an explosion to a property. The main difference between reckless burning and arson is the intent, but the nature of the crime is similar enough where recklessness is considered an arson charge.

Is Second Degree Reckless Burning a Misdemeanor?

Yes. Reckless burning is charged as a gross misdemeanor, and it can be punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me in My Case?

Yes. It’s important to hire a Washington criminal lawyer to discuss your options and resolve your criminal case.