Arson in New Jersey is committed if an individual sets a fire or causes an explosion. Arson is considered a very serious crime, as it not only results in property damage but can also put the lives of others in danger. The severe penalties that accompany arson crimes thus reflect the harshness of the charges. Continue reading and reach out to our firm today to learn more about your legal options with a skilled and dedicated Bergen County criminal defense attorney. We can help ensure you and your future are protected.
What are the different degrees of arson in New Jersey?
New Jersey recognizes four degrees of arson with first-degree arson as the most serious crime. A conviction will result in imprisonment of up to 20 years. First-degree charges refer to cases involving arsonists for hire usually noticed in matters of insurance fraud; it also automatically applies when an arsonist targets a church, mosque, synagogue, or another house of worship. Just like assault, arson can be categorized as aggravated when the offense is deemed more severe, in which case the arson is in the second degree. Third-degree arson involves recklessly creating fire with the intent to harm or destroy a structure. Fourth-degree arson happens when the defendant is an official or someone who has a legal duty to prevent the fire and fails to do so. If you would like to learn more about arson laws New Jersey, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today. Our legal team is on your side no matter what.
What are the consequences of arson?
Keep in mind that the exact consequences of arson will depend on the facts of the case. Potential penalties include incarceration, fines, and liability for the costs related to emergency service personnel dispatched to respond to the fire. The penalties associated with this offense also largely rely on the degree of arson that is charged. For instance:
- First-degree arson: First-degree arson is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 10-20 years. If the arson involves a place of worship, the penalty is 15 years without the possibility of parole.
- Second-degree arson or aggravated arson: Punishable by a prison term ranging from 5-10 years.
- Aggravated arson is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERT), a sentencing provision in which the convicted defendant is instructed to serve a minimum term of 85% of the judge-imposed sentence.
- Third-degree arson: Punishable by a prison term of 5 years.
- Fourth-degree arson: Punishable by 18 months in prison.
If you were charged with arson or would simply like to learn more about the consequences of arson in New Jersey, reach out to our firm today to acquire competent legal representation. We are here to help.