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Arson

Manhattan Arson Defense Lawyer

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A person commits arson when he intentionally damages the property of another without the other's consent by starting a fire or causing an explosion. If you are accused of this serious crime, contact a Manhattan City arson crime lawyer immediately. You need someone who has the time, experience, and knowledge necessary to match the prosecution.

Arson, in all its degrees, is a serious crime. Contact the Law Office of John Buza, PC for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused of any degree of Arson.

Degrees of Arson Charges in New York

Arson is codified in New York Penal Code Article 150. There are five degrees of Arson in New York. Arson, in its most basic form, is codified as Arson in the Fifth Degree and it is a class A misdemeanor. The degree of Arson increases as certain aggravating factors are met. Arson in the First Degree is a class A-1 Felony. The damage to the property need not be great to sustain a conviction. Even slight evidence of charring may be enough. Below is an explanation of the different degrees of Arson, what the government needs to prove to sustain a conviction, and what the applicable sanctions are.

  • Arson in the First Degree is codified in Penal Code Section 150.20. If a person is convicted of Arson in the First Degree, the minimum period of incarceration is an indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment and the maximum period of incarceration is a term of 25 years to life. There are four ways for a person to commit Arson in the First Degree, all of which stipulate that the person intentionally set fire to a building or motor vehicle and had reason to believe someone was inside:
    • Through the use of an incendiary device
    • Through the use of an explosion
    • By causing serious physical injury
    • In order to obtain financial gain in some manner
  • Arson in the Second Degree is codified in Penal Code Section 150.15. If a person with no prior felony convictions is convicted of Arson in the Second Degree, the minimum period of incarceration is 5 years and the maximum is 25 years. For the the government to sustain a conviction, it needs to prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    • the person intentionally damaged a building (or motor vehicle) by starting a fire;
    • another person, who was not a participant in the crime, was present in the building (or motor vehicle); and
    • the person knew someone else was in the building (or motor vehicle), or the circumstances were such as to render the presence of such a person in the building (or motor vehicle) a reasonable possibility.
  • Arson in the Third Degree is codified in Penal Code Section 150.10. and is a class C felony. There is no minimum period of mandatory incarceration for someone with no criminal history, however, the maximum period of incarceration is an indeterminate sentence of 5 - 15 years. For the government to sustain a conviction, it needs to prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    • the person intentionally damaged a building (or motor vehicle) by starting a fire or causing an explosion; and
    • the person did so intentionally.
  • Arson in the Fourth Degree is codified in Penal Code Section 150.05. Arson in the Fourth Degree is a class E felony. There is no minimum period of mandatory incarceration if a person has no criminal history, however, the maximum period of incarceration is an indeterminate sentence of 1 1/3 - 4 years. For the government to sustain a conviction, it needs to prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    • the person intentionally started a fire or caused an explosion; and
    • in doing so, the person recklessly damaged a building (or motor vehicle).
  • Arson in the Fifth Degree - is codified in Penal Code Section 150.01. Arson in the Fifth Degree is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail . For the government to sustain a conviction, it needs to prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    • the person intentionally damaged the property of another without the other's consent; and
    • the person did so by starting a fire or causing an explosion.

Any accusation of Arson is serious. Our experienced Manhattan arson criminal defense attorney can help. If you, or a loved one, is accused of this crime. Call (212) 577-9328 to schedule a free consultation.

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