New York Arson
A New York Arson Lawyer can explain that there are five different levels of arson charges in New York, along with several affirmative defenses. This crime is defined as setting fire to a building or property without the owner’s consent. The definition of Arson has been broken down even further to differentiate the type of the property that is involved, the types of fires that are set, and the risk of injury to others. Because of the destructive and dangerous nature of this crime and its ability to harm others, the New York District Attorney’s office has a very low tolerance for this crime. If you have been charged with this offense, it is important to speak to our legal team right away. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC for guidance and a free consultation.
This offense is known to most people as the act of starting a fire and causing the subsequent damage to a building or property. In the state of New York, the charge of arson is set out in §150 of the Penal Code. Section §150.00 defines a “building” beyond its usual meaning as any “structure, vehicle, vehicle or watercraft used for overnight lodging of persons, or used by persons for carrying on business therein.”
This is considered to be a willful and malicious crime. Although all the District Attorney will need to show is that a fire was set intentionally. Interestingly, this is a crime against possession and not of ownership, so a person can be charged for this crime by setting fire to their own home.
There are five degrees of this crime. Which degree will apply will depend on:
The intent of the defendant;
The materials used to set the fire;
Whether human life was in danger;
Whether anyone was actually injured.
Also the type of building that was involved will have an impact of the degree of arson charged. For instance burning down an unoccupied nonresidential building will not carry the same weight as the burning down of an occupied, residential home.
5th degree Arson is a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by less than 1 year in jail. All other degrees of this crime are considered as felonies. Arson in the second degree and first degree are considered violent felonies, and carry even harsher punishments. Arson in the first degree is the most serious offense, and is considered a violent A-1 felony. This offense carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. It is important to note that there are affirmative defenses to this crime which if applicable can lessen the charges against you, or even dismiss the charges completely. But it is important to act promptly and obtain legal guidance as soon as possible. The sooner our team can gather evidence and create an aggressive defense strategy the better you chances of a successful outcome.
If you or a loved one has been charged with this crime, it is important to contact our legal team right away. We will offer you sound legal guidance and a free consultation with your first office visit. Whether you have been charged with this crime or other offense such as drug possession, grand larceny, assault or petit larceny, we will provide a strong defense on your behalf and ensure that your interests are protected. We have offices located throughout New York City, including locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. We also have locations in Westchester County, and both Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 800.696.9529.