Charges for arson in New York state are very serious, with the lowest level charge being a class A misdemeanor and the highest being a class A felony. This means that the maximum sentence for the highest charge can lead to up to 40 years in prison if not handled properly. Call our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now to discuss what options are available to help deal with these charges.
Arson charges follow when there has been a manmade fire or explosion, deliberately set to intentionally damage property. The different degrees of charges depend on the multiple factors including if a person occupies the property, if a person has been seriously injured and if the fire was caused intentionally, accidentally or recklessly. The lowest charge, arson in the fifth degree, is a class A misdemeanor and is charged when a person has set a fire or caused an explosion to intentionally damage the property of another without their consent. This is the only charge of arson that falls under the category of a misdemeanor, but if the person who set the fire or caused the explosion is the sole owner of the property the charges may not apply.
If a person has recklessly damaged a vehicle or building by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion, they can be charged with arson in the fourth degree. This charge is a class E felony and can include fines and restitution for the victim as well as up to a four-year prison sentence. If a person completes these actions and has reasonable grounds to believe that their conduct might endanger or threaten the life or safety of another and their sole intent was to destroy or damage the building or vehicle that they have no proper purpose to do so, the charge is raised to arson in the third degree. This heightened charge means that the maximum sentence can be up to 15 years and there is a minimum of one year served, with possible fines and restitution as well.
The second most serious charge, arson in the second degree, is applied when there is another person present in the building or vehicle at the time of the fire or explosion and the person who has set the fire or explosion is aware of their presence. This charge is punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years. Finally, the most serious charge, punishable by a maximum 40 year sentence, applies when the explosion or fire is caused by an incendiary device thrown or propelled near or inside a building or if the fire was caused with the expectation of some sort of gain after the fire had been set.
While these charges are serious, our experience team of New York criminal attorneys are here to discuss the case with you and determine the best possible way to handle the charges in order to maximize the possibility of the best result for you.