Arson is when someone intentionally sets something on fire or makes an explosion to harm property. The building can be a home, a business, a car, a boat, or anything else that serves as a place to stay overnight or do business. There are five different levels of arson. The second-most serious type of arson is Second-degree arson in New York. If any of the following apply, you may be charged with arson in the second degree under New York Penal Code 150.15:
- You intentionally damage a building by fire or by causing an explosion,
- The building or vehicle was occupied at the time that you caused the fire or explosion, and
- You had reason to believe that the building was occupied.
The fact that the defendant had no basis to suspect that the structure was occupied when the fire was started is a crucial defense to an arson allegation in the second degree.
It is also a defense that even if the defendant should have been aware that there was a chance a person would be inside the premises, the building was empty when the fire or explosion was set off.
A class B felony is second-degree arson. You risk receiving a 25-year prison sentence. Moreover, it is categorized as a violent felony offense. This implies that if you are found guilty of arson in the second degree, you will receive a required minimum term of 5 years in prison regardless of whether you have ever been convicted of a felony.
New York Penal Law § 150.15: Arson in the Second Degree
If someone intentionally starts a fire that causes damage to a building or a vehicle, and (a) someone else who is not a party to the crime is present there at the time, and (b) the defendant is aware of this fact or the circumstances are such that the presence of this person there is a reasonable possibility, they are guilty of arson in the second degree.
Hiring A Lawyer in New York For Arson in the Second Degree Cases
If you’re facing charges of arson in the second degree in New York, it’s important to hire a competent and experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. Here are some steps to follow when hiring a lawyer for an arson case:
- Research: Look for criminal defense attorneys in New York who specialize in arson cases. You can search online or ask for recommendations from friends or family members.
- Consultation: Schedule a consultation with the lawyers you’re interested in hiring. During the consultation, discuss the details of your case and ask the lawyer about their experience and success rate in handling arson cases.
- Fees: Ask about the lawyer’s fees and payment options. Some lawyers may charge a flat fee, while others charge hourly rates. Make sure you understand the costs involved before hiring a lawyer.
- Communication: Make sure the lawyer you hire is accessible and communicates effectively with you. Ask how they prefer to communicate with their clients and how often you can expect updates about your case.
- Experience: Choose a lawyer who has experience handling arson cases in New York. They should be familiar with the state’s arson laws and have a track record of success in defending clients against arson charges.
Hiring a lawyer for an arson case in New York requires careful consideration and research. It’s important to choose a lawyer who has the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to represent you effectively in court.