Arson in New York is a crime that is committed when someone starts a fire or makes an explosion that damages a building. New York criminal law has a number of different arson offenses. The specific offense you will be charged with will depend on a number of variables, including whether or not people were inside the building when the fire was started and whether it was done purposefully or carelessly. If you willfully ignite a fire or cause an explosion to recklessly harm a building or a vehicle, you have committed the fourth-degree felony of arson, according to New York Penal Code 135.55.
If accused of fourth-degree arson, one argument is that the fire was not intentionally started but rather occurred by accident. You cannot be found guilty of fourth-degree arson if the fire or explosion was unintentional.
The maximum prison term for fourth-degree arson is four years because this offense falls under the category of a class E felony. The judge may decide to sentence you to a 5-year probationary period rather than to prison, especially if you have no prior convictions. A conviction for arson could also have financial repercussions. A fine or restitution to the victim may be imposed by the court, in addition to a fine.
New York Penal Law § 150.05: Arson in the Fourth Degree
- A person is guilty of arson in the fourth degree when he recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.
- In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle.
Hiring A Lawyer in New York For Arson in the Fourth Degree Cases
If you are facing a charge of arson in the fourth 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. 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.