Arson is the act of setting fire to or burning a building or occupied structure without prior consent. There are four different degrees of arson you can be charged with, based on the circumstances of the event. No matter what class of arson you’ve been charged with committing, it is imperative to hire a criminal lawyer fairfax va to represent you in court. Arson is a felony charge, no matter what degree you are charged with. Thus, the crime is punishable by time in jail.
First Degree Arson
First-degree arson occurs when a person knowing sets fire to, burns, or causes to be burned any building or occupied structure or the use of an explosive device to cause damage or to destroy the building. This is a class 3 felony that carries a minimum sentence of 4 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. Prison time is mandatory if you are charged with first-degree arson.
Second Degree Arson
Second degree arson occurs when a person burns or uses explosive devices to damage or destroy any property without proper consent. The definition is pretty similar to a first degree arson, except that second-degree arson does not include an occupied structure. This is a class 4 felony with a potential prison sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison.
Third Degree Arson
Third degree arson is a charge given to a person who uses fire or explosive device to destroy property with the intent to defraud. This is a class 4 felony that has a possible sentence of six years.
Fourth Degree Arson
Fourth degree arson occurs when you cause damage or injury or damage rather than actually causing any type of injury or damage. It is a class 4 felony when a life is put in danger but can be a class 2 or a class 3 misdemeanor in certain situations.