Felony arson is the crime of willful and malicious burning of property, including buildings, structures, vehicles, or parks, forests and preserves, where the value of the property or the amount of the damage caused is over $500. If less than $500, the offense is a first degree misdemeanor.
Elements of Felony Arson
It is a 4th degree felony to create or cause a substantial risk of physical harm by fire or explosion –
- To the property of another without the owner’s consent
- To the property of another or one’s own with the purpose to defraud
- To a school house or any building or structure owned or controlled by the state or department, agency or instrument of the state that is used for public purpose
- To any park, preserve, wild land, brush-covered land, cut-over land, forest, timberland, Greenland, woods or other property that belongs to anyone other than the offender, without consent, or similar land that belongs to the offender whose action is to defraud.
A 4th degree felony is punishable by up to 18 months of prison with optional probation, and up to a $5,000 fine.
It is a 3rd degree felony to offer or accept an agreement for hire or other similar type of consideration to create or cause a substantial risk of physical harm by fire or explosion any property of another’s or the offenders property with the purpose to defraud.
A 3rd degree felony is punishable by up to a 5 year prison term, with optional probation, and up to a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Felony Arson
If the offender’s actions create substantial risk of physical harm to any person other than himself, he is guilty of a 1st degree felony.
If physical harm is caused to any occupied structure, the offender is guilty of a 2nd degree felony.
If, through the offer or acceptance of an agreement for hire, a substantial risk of physical harm is caused to an occupied structure, the offender is guilty of a 1st degree felony.
A first degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison with mandatory probation, and up to a $20,000 fine.
A second degree felony is punishable by up to 8 years in prison with mandatory probation and up to a $15,000 fine.
The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and those accused of felony arson should seek legal counsel immediately.