Arson is a serious crime, and the penalty for committing it can vary depending on the severity of the offense. The standard range of punishment for First Degree Arson is 21 to 27 months in prison. However, if the occupants of the house were present, the punishment may be higher. Additionally, the prosecution could seek to prove that the accused did not intend to commit the crime.
If a house was set ablaze by a gas line hookup defect, the law does not require that the occupants be present. Even if the occupants were not, the property owner may be required to pay restitution for the damages. In some cases, a person with mental health issues is charged with arson. It is possible to avoid jail time for arson if the defendant pled guilty to a lesser charge, such as reckless burning.
There are five degrees of arson in New York State. These degrees range from the least serious to the most serious. They include: Dangerous Burning, Arson in the First Degree, Arson in the Second Degree, Arson in the Fifth Degree and Arson in the Fourth Degree. Each has its own set of penalties and requirements.
Arson in the first degree is a class A felony. This is the most serious of the five degrees of arson. To be convicted of this charge, you must be aware of the fact that you are attempting to light a fire on another person’s property, or you must have knowledge of someone who is attempting to do this.
The maximum penalty for arson in the first degree is life in prison. However, you can still avoid prison by pleading guilty to a lesser offense, such as reckless burning or failing to report a dangerous fire. Failing to report a dangerous fire can carry a maximum of five years in prison, while a conviction for arson in the second degree can carry up to 6 years.
Arson in the fourth degree is a class E felony. Arson in this case occurs when an explosion, fire or other form of intentional damage happens to a structure, vehicle, boat or machine. In addition, this type of arson charge is a violent felony. The maximum sentence for an Arson in the Fourth Degree is seven years in state penitentiary.
Arson in the fifth degree is a class A misdemeanor. In this case, you can avoid incarceration by pledging to complete community service or making restitution to the property owner. You can also avoid the charges if you are a juvenile.
Arson in the second degree is a class B felony. An Arson in the second degree charge is brought when a fire or explosion is committed without the knowledge of the person causing the fire or explosion. Although the law does not require absolute certainty of who was committing the crime, a person who is armed or who is suspected of being a member of a criminal organization can face a higher penalty.