Arson in New York is the act of purposefully causing damage to property by means of fire or explosives. While arson frequently results in the destruction of structures, it can also result in harm to a vehicle or a watercraft. The New York criminal law has five distinct arson charges. The fifth degree of arson is the least serious type of offense. Arson in the fifth degree is defined by New York Criminal Code 150.01 as the deliberate setting of fire or explosion on another person’s property without the owner’s permission.
If you’re accused of fifth-degree arson, you may argue that you didn’t start the fire on purpose and that it was started inadvertently instead. If the fire was truly an accident, the prosecutor will find it challenging to find you guilty of fifth-degree arson. The fact that you were the only owner of the property is an additional line of defense. According to the fifth-degree arson statute, you must have harmed someone else’s property in order to be guilty.
Fifth-degree arson is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum term of confinement is one year. Instead of jail time, the judge might decide to sentence you to probation. The trial period would last for three years. The court may also mandate that you pay a fine and make reparation to the victim.
New York Penal Law § 150.01: Arson in the Fifth Degree
A person is guilty of arson in the fifth degree when he or she intentionally damages the property of another without the consent of the owner by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.
Hiring A Lawyer in New York For Arson in the Fifth-Degree Cases
If you are facing a charge of arson in the fifth degree in New York, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to hire a lawyer for your case:
- Research potential lawyers: Look for attorneys who specialize in criminal defense, particularly in cases involving arson charges. You can use online directories, such as Avvo or Martindale-Hubbell, to find attorneys in your area who meet these criteria.
- Schedule consultations: Once you have a list of potential lawyers, schedule consultations with them to discuss your case. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, so take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the lawyer and their approach to your case.
- Ask questions: During your consultations, ask questions to get a better understanding of the lawyer’s experience, success rate, and fees. You should also ask about their approach to your case and how they plan to defend you.
- Consider experience and track record: When choosing a lawyer, consider their experience and track record in handling arson cases, particularly in cases involving fifth-degree arson charges. Look for an attorney who has a good reputation and a track record of success in defending clients against arson charges.
- Make a decision: After consulting with several lawyers and considering their experience, track record, and fees, make a decision on which lawyer you want to hire. Be sure to discuss payment arrangements and sign a retainer agreement before the lawyer begins working on your case.
It is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible, as arson charges are serious and can carry severe penalties. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your legal options and develop a strong defense strategy.