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Arson is the willful and malicious burning of property, sometimes with intent of defrauding insurance companies. There are different degrees of arson, for example first-degree arson charges may be based on if the building is a church, home, school or any other structure that had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human being. Second-degree arson is willfully and unlawfully setting fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged any structure, whether the property of himself or herself or another. Third-degree arson may involve the burning of property.
If a fireman, rescue worker, or building occupant is injured or killed, additional charges with penalties similar to those for assault or murder would apply. Prosecutors really pursue individuals with arson charges; the potential criminal penalties if convicted of arson can be severe. You may be looking at 2 to 20 years in prison, monetary fines and can even be charged with murder if a firefighter or a civilian is killed in arson.
Since arson is a serious criminal offense, it is necessary to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that understands arson laws and will protect your rights.
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