Arson is a crime that refers to the intentional destruction or damage to property by fire. The property at issue may be that of the defendant or a third person.
Sometimes people damage or destroy their own property for the purpose of fraudulently collecting insurance proceeds. Total destruction of the property is not required for an arson conviction.
The law only requires that the fire cause some damage or charring to the property. The extent of damage caused is a sentencing consideration, as is the presence or absence of others inside the property when the fire occurs.
Under Rhode Island criminal law, arson is addressed by severity and categorized by degree ranging from First Degree Arson, as the most serious, to Seventh Degree Arson as the least serious. Depending upon degree, the crime of arson under Rhode Island law may be considered a felony or a misdemeanor.
- First-Degree Arson
- Second-Degree Arson
- Third-Degree Arson
- Fourth-Degree Arson
- Fifth-Degree Arson
- Sixth-Degree Arson
- Seventh-Degree Arson
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We have a proven track record for success in the courtroom, including trials and appeals, and have the resources to develop a winning defense.
What are Arson Offenses?
Arson is the intentional setting of fire to a building, vehicle or other property for the purpose of causing damage.
Is complete damage necessary to be charged or convicted for Arson?
Complete destruction of the property is not required to charge or convict for Arson. Extensive damage is similarly not required. It is sufficient under the law of Arson if the property has only minor damage.
Further, one may be charged with Arson for setting fire to the property of another or his own property.
Is it illegal to set your own house on fire?
Setting fire to one’s own property is common with insurance fraud where someone destroys his or her own property by fire, and then files an insurance claim for the loss. In such cases, an offender may be charged with both Arson and Fraud.
Is Arson a felony?
Arson is viewed by the Courts as among the most serious felony offenses. It ranks near the top of the list with Murder, Rape, Robbery and Kidnapping. As a result, courts and prosecutors most often seek to impose jail sentences for convicted arsonists.
What is the sentence for Arson?
There are various aggravating factors they will look to assess the seriousness of a particular Arson case. These factors include :
- the extent of damage from the fire;
- whether or not the property was occupied at the time of the fire;
- if occupied, number of occupants and extent of their sustained injuries;
- existence and injury to animals or pets on the premises;
- existence of injuries to first responders such as firefighters and rescue workers;
- value of the damage to the property, including the actual structure and its contents;
- the motive for committing the offense
What should I do if charged with Arson?
If you have been charged with Arson, it is important to seek legal representation immediately to protect your rights and to minimize the impact that a criminal charge of this nature may have on your life.
Types of arson offenses:
- Burning of a Dwelling
- Burning of a Building
- Burning of Personal Property or Personality
- Malicious Destruction by Fire or Burning
Arson Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the usual sentence for arson?
- What are the consequences of arson?
- Can you go to jail for starting a fire? What are the consequences?
- What is 3rd degree arson?
- How long do you go to jail for first degree arson?
- How much is the bail for arson?
- What is 4th degree arson?
- What are the different types of arson?
- Fifth Degree Arson covers attempted Arson