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The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Arson

At The Sanders Firm, P.C. we represent those who have been charged in criminal acts involving property such as arson. Arson is the intentional damaging or destruction of property using fire or explosives. Arson is defined under Article 150 New York State Penal Law. There are five degrees of arson. Arson may involve the damaging or destruction of a building or a vehicle.

The Crime of Arson

Arson is a serious crime and depending on the severity of the action it may be a class A misdemeanor, the least severe, or a class A-I felony. Arson in the fifth degree (S 150.01), which is a class A misdemeanor, involves intentionally damaging the property of another causing an explosion or setting a fire. The damage is without the consent of the owner.

The four other types of arson are all felonies. Arson in the fourth degree occurs when someone recklessly damages a building or a motor vehicle that is not theirs utilizing an explosive device setting fire to it. Under Article 150.10 and it is a class E felony.

Arson in the third degree, under Article 150.15, is a class C felony. Overall, the actions are the same as those describe in Article 150.10, however the act is described as being “intentional” and not “reckless” as it is described in the fourth degree. In addition, there are numerous affirmative defenses concerning it. For Arson in the third degree, the section of the article notes:

“In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that (a) no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle, or if other persons had such interests, all of them consented to the defendant`s conduct, and (b) the defendant`s sole intent was to destroy or damage the building or motor vehicle for a lawful and proper purpose, and (c) the defendant had no reasonable ground to believe that his conduct might endanger the life or safety of another person or damage another building or motor vehicle.”

Second and First Degree

Arson in the second degree (S 150.20) is a class B felony, it involves intentionally damaging a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire, and there is another person in the building or vehicle who is not a participant in the arson. For second degree arson the defendant must know by “fact” or “circumstance” that a person is in the building or the vehicle.

Arson in the first degree (S 150.25), which is a class A-I felony, is the most serious of all. It involves someone using an incendiary device to start the fire and in which someone who is not involved in the commission is harmed or injured. In addition, in the commission of the action, the defendant is to receive a financial award for their efforts. The defendant must know by fact or circumstance that there is someone in the building or vehicle.

Arson Charges

If you have been charged with arson, it is imperative that you seek and retain legal representation. The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York offers criminal defense services for those charged with arson. Contact us and one of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys will begin working with you immediately. At The Sanders Firm, P.C. we are your voice for justice in New York State’s criminal justice system.