Arson is the intentional and malicious burning of a building or other structure. Law enforcement may charge you even if it occurred on your own property or if you enticed another to commit this act. This is a felony of the first degree if it involves an inhabited or occupied building or structure. The same designation applies if the fire or explosion endangers the life of other persons, including firefighters and police officers, or causes bodily injury. If the incident results in the death of another, you can face second degree
If the intent was to cause death and this was successful, this constitutes first degree murder. A first degree murder conviction can result in a death sentence or life in prison and second degree murder can result in the latter. The criminal act of arson endangering property is a felony of the second degree if it is committed with the intent of destroying or damaging an unoccupied building or structure. This is a felony of the third degree if the intent to destroy was not present, yet the purposeful starting a fire or explosion was placed structures or property at risk.
Penalties Upon Conviction
Arson can occur in connection to domestic violence or sometimes to drug lords who want evidence burned. All that is needed to convict someone of arson is to show evidence of a burning and evidence that a criminal act caused the fire. Malice is what authorities look for, which can simply be intentional or "outrageously reckless" behavior. You can also be charged with arson if you aided, counseled, paid or agreed to pay another to commit the act of arson. If you are charged with an alleged arson, contact our firm for legal advice and guidance to ensure the protection of your rights. Arson is a serious crime that can come with some harsh penalties:
- A person who is convicted of arson that causes great bodily injury can receive a prison sentence of five to nine years
- A person who is convicted of arson that causes damage to an inhabited structure or property can receive a prison sentence of three to eight years
- A person who is convicted of destroying a structure or forestland can receive a prison sentence of four to six years
- A person who is convicted of destroying property in general can receive a prison sentence of 16 months to three years
It is imperative that you get professional legal counsel on your side, as often a firefighter can be brought in by the prosecution during the case who does not fully know how to read the evidence. Currently a heated debate is raging over the arson laws of Pennsylvania. Many state officials want to tighten up the laws to include a minimum sentence for arsonists, but those that oppose the bill argue that teenagers who set a bush on fire could face years in prison as a result. Regardless of whether this bill passes, convicted arsonists face hard-hitting penalties that defendants should not take lightly in the court room. Get the legal help you can count on today.
Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia
With over 40 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Benari Law Group can help to build the best possible defense in your case. It is important you contact us right away, even if you are only under investigation for arson. The sooner we become involved in your case, the more opportunities we have to protect you. It may even be possible to prevent the filing of charges against you or to have charges reduced. Where this is not the case, we will do all we can to aggressively pursue an acquittal. If you are under investigation for arson,
contact Benari Law Group immediately.