Penalties For Arson In New Jersey
Since humanity first discovered fire, arson has been seen as a particularly heinous crime. Fire not only has the potential to destroy property, but it also has the potential to take lives. But what are the penalties for arson in New Jersey? Like every other state, New Jersey takes arson very seriously – and you can expect strict penalties if you are found guilty of this crime. That said, there are different types of arson and penalties may vary depending on the circumstances.
Arson Laws in New Jersey
There are varying arson laws in New Jersey. If you pay someone or accept payment for starting a fire, you face a crime of the first degree.
Arson in the third degree is when you purposely start a fire or cause an explosion. Elements of arson in the third degree include:
- Recklessly putting another person in danger
- Recklessly putting a building in danger of being damaged
- Setting a fire to collect insurance payments
Aggravated arson is when you start a fire while “knowingly” putting someone else in danger or “knowingly” putting a building in danger of being damaged. The key difference between arson and aggravated arson is the distinction between “knowingly” and “recklessly” starting a fire. The difference between these two concepts revolves around intent.
You can also face a crime of the fourth degree if you fail to control or report a dangerous fire. For example, your campfire might get out of control, causing a forest fire. This could potentially lead to fourth degree arson charges.
An Example of Arson in New Jersey
On June 9th, a man from Ocean County faced 36 charges for a what authorities are calling an “antisemetic crime spree.” During this crime spree, the defendant allegedly burned down a home and scrawled swastikas on several residences known to be occupied by Jews. One home was completely destroyed, while three others suffered heat damage before firefighters arrived. 14 homes were vandalized with swastikas. He apparently used some kind of “accelerant” to ignite the fire.
No one was home, and so no one was injured or killed. However, this individual faces serious charges, including 36 counts of bias intimidation, aggravated arson, arson, and criminal mischief. He will also likely face hate crime charges, which makes all of these existing charges worse. This individual also has a past history of drug use and resisting arrest.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in New Jersey?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New Jersey defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Although penalties may vary for arson, your consequences also depend on your choice of lawyer. A qualified defense attorney can fight for your rights and defend you in the best possible way. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective defense strategy.