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New York Penal Law § 150.05: Arson in the fourth degree

If you cause a structure to be damaged by starting a fire or causing an explosion, you would have committed the crime of arson. There are several different arson crimes in the New York criminal code. The particular crime that you will face depends on a number of factors including whether or not the fire was set intentionally or recklessly, and whether or not people were in the structure when the fire was set. Under New York Penal Law § 135.55, you would have committed the crime of arson in the fourth degree if you recklessly damage a building or a vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.

Example

In People v. Self, 2010 NY Slip Op 6189 (N.Y. App. Div., 2010), defendant Terry Self and Jason Savoie drove to Walter Albino's house. Savoie and Self knocked on Albino's door. When there was no response, Savoie picked up a gasoline container that was on the porch and poured it on the porch. Self then ignited it. Albino saw the flames and quickly put out the fire with snow. Self was eventually convicted of arson in the fourth degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Arson in the Fifth Degree: New York Penal Law § 150.01
  2. Arson in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law § 150.10
  3. Arson in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 150.15
  4. Arson in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 150.20
Defenses

One possible defense to a charge of arson in the fourth degree is that the fire was not set intentionally but accidentally. If the fire or explosion was indeed an accident, you cannot be convicted of arson in the fourth degree.

Sentence

Because the crime of arson in the fourth degree is a class E felony the maximum possible prison sentence is 4 years. Particularly if you have no prior convictions the judge may choose to sentence you to a probation term of 5 years instead of sending you to prison. In addition, there may be financial consequences for being convicted of arson. You may be ordered to pay a fine, and the judge may order you to pay restitution to the victim.

New York Penal Law § 150.05: Arson in the Fourth Degree
  1. A person is guilty of arson in the fourth degree when he recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.
  2. In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been charged with arson in the fourth degree you could end up in prison. However, just because you were charged with this crime does not mean you will be convicted. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with arson as well as other serious crimes such as sexual assault, rape, harassment, menacing, and reckless endangerment. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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