Arson is a sometimes misunderstood crime in the state of Connecticut, and if you have been charged with this crime, it is important that you fully understand what you are being accused of. Based on your personal definition of arson, you may feel that you have not committed this crime. Even after understanding what arson truly is, you still may feel that you have a strong defense against the charge that you face.
Regardless, if you want to fight your arson charge, it is important that you are proactive and you hire a criminal defense lawyer to review your situation with you and help you build a defense. Our attorney at Cummings Law Firm deals with arson and other property crime cases each year, which gives our firm the tools and experience to support you at this difficult time. We serve in Waterbury, Danbury, Torrington and throughout the area.
What Is Arson?
Many people know that arson occurs when property is damaged due to fire. However, what many people do not understand is that you can be charged with arson for burning your own property. Arson is simply defined in the state of Connecticut as the intentional damage to property by setting it on fire or burning it. It doesn't matter if this property is your own or someone else's - if it is burned, you can be charged with arson.
- An arson charge can also result from reckless acts that cause fires. If you don't intent to burn someone's property, but you do act recklessly and this action results in a fire that damages property, you can be charged with arson. For example, if you drunkenly forget to put out a fire in a fireplace before going to sleep, and the wall that the fireplace is attached to is damaged as a result, you can be charged with arson.
- In most cases, arson occurs in buildings, but it can also occur on public property or in a forest. Arson is usually a felony charge, but like many other crimes such as larceny and assault, there are different degrees of arson varying in seriousness. In the state of Connecticut, there are three degrees of arson. They are defined as follows.
Degrees Of Arson Charges
- First-degree arson. First-degree arson is defined as someone intentionally damaging property by causing an explosion or starting a fire and someone is injured as a result of the fire/explosion. This form of arson is a class A felony, and it will result in a prison sentence of 10-25 years and a fine of as much as $20,000.
- Second-degree arson. Second-degree arson occurs when an intentional fire or explosion is caused or you are responsible for hiring someone else to start a fire/explosion. In second-degree arson, there is a risk of injury to someone else, or the fire/explosion was used to cover up a criminal act. This is considered a class B felony, and if you are convicted of this crime, you face a fine of as much as $15,000 as well as a prison sentence of 1-20 years.
- Third-degree arson. Of the degrees of arson, third degree is the least serious, but it is still considered a felony. Third-degree arson occurs when an intentional fire is started or explosion is caused that damages a building. This is a class c felony, and it will result in a fine of as much as $10,000 and a 1-10-year prison sentence upon conviction.
It is important to note that if an arson offense causes death, the penalties for arson will be even more severe than the class A felony penalties. Whether murder occurs unintentionally or intentionally, arson that causes death will result in the possibility of a life sentence in prison.
Take Action And Contact Us Now
If you have been charged with first-, second- or third-degree arson, you need to act now so as to avoid these very serious penalties. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with arson cases can ensure that you establish the best defense possible in court. While there is never a guarantee of a not guilty verdict, we promise to fight for your rights and build a great defense for your arson case. Please contact us today for a free consultation in which we can discuss your situation: 203-754-7779.