Arson is a very serious offense that can carry penalties ranging anywhere from a Misdemeanor to a Felony 2. If you are facing charges it is important that you do not speak to police or arson investigators without an attorney present.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes ARS 13-1703 and ARS 13-704, arson occurs when a person “knowingly and unlawfully damages a structure or property by knowingly causing a fire or explosion.” It is important to note that since explosions are included, fireworks can become a source of arson.
In Arizona the crime of arson is broken up into different categories, based on the intent and damage caused, and the penalties for the offense may range from a Felony 6 to a very serious Felony 2.
Arson of a Structure as defined under ARS 13-1703 requires “knowing and unlawful damage” to a structure through a fire or explosion. Arson of a structure, that is unoccupied and the damage to the structure exceeds $1,000.00, is classified as a Felony 4. If the damage is under $1,000 it will be deemed a Felony 5. If the damage to the unoccupied structure is less than $100.00 then it can be classified as a misdemeanor 1.
Reckless burning is classified as: “Any fire or explosions unintentionally caused by an individual that causes damage.” In Arizona the most common charges occur though improper handling of a camp fire. This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.
In Arizona it is illegal to burn a cross or any other type of symbol on another person’s property without their consent, on a highway or in a public place. This type or arson is a class 1 misdemeanor though it may have additional accompanying charges.
Wildlands burning refers to the burning of forests, the penalties that could be imposed depends on the severity of the damage:
- If the fire was caused by the negligence of the offender, like leaving a campfire unattended that damages the nearby forest then the offense is a class 2 misdemeanor
- If the fire was caused by reckless behavior on the part of the offender, such as building a huge fire with no safety precautions, it is a class 1 misdemeanor
- If the fire was intentionally set, the offense is a class 6 felony
- If the fire places a person or structure in danger, it is a class 3 felony
Any other intentional damage caused by fire is classified by the damage inflicted:
- If an unoccupied structure is harmed it is a class 4 felony
- If an occupied structure is damaged the offense is a class 2 felony
- If a prison or jail is harmed it is a class 3 felony.
If you have been accused of arson, you need an experienced attorney ready to aggressively protect your freedom. Call us today for a confidential attorney consultation.