Arson is a serious crime with serious penalties. Arson is taken so seriously because it can lead to life-altering harm to both people and property. Read on to learn more about the consequences of arson in New Jersey.
What constitutes arson?
Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may be charged with:
Arson in the first degree: You can be convicted of arson in the first degree if you participate in arson for hire or target a house of worship.
Second Degree Arson/Aggravated Arson: This occurs when an individual commits arson and does at least one of the following at the same time:
- Purposely or knowingly places another person in danger of death or injury
- Acts with the purpose of destroying another person’s building or structure
- Commits fruad by acting with the intent to collect insurance for the destruction
- Acts with the purpose of destroying/ damaging a structure in order to exempt it from any state, county, or local planning or zoning law regulation, ordinance or enactment
- Purposely acts to destroy or damage any forest
Arson in the third degree: This occurs when an individual purposely starts a fire or causes an explosion that recklessly endangers a building or a person
Arson in the fourth degree: This refers to an individual who has a duty to prevent a fire and knows that a fire is endangering life or property, but fails to either put out the fire or warn others of the fire.
What are the penalties for arson?
In New Jersey, arson carries heavy consequences, including:
First-degree arson: First-degree arson is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 10-20 years.
Second-degree arson or aggravated arson: Second-degree arson can result in a sentence of 5-10 years. Aggravated arson is subject to the No Early Release Act
Third-degree arson: Punishable by a prison term of 5 years.
Fourth-degree arson: Punishable by 18 months in prison.
Do I need an attorney to fight arson charges?
Arson charges can have a major impact on your life. In fact, arson is on the list of crimes that are ineligible for expungement in New Jersey. As a result, it is important that you seek legal counsel right away.
If you are facing charges of arson, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Reach out to our firm today to discuss your case. We will explore every avenue and work to have your charges reduced or even dropped. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin building your case.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.