A couple weeks ago, this blog discussed fifth, fourth and third-degree arson in New York. Today we are going to take a look at the laws regarding second and first-degree arson, which can be found in New York penal code article 150.
According to New York law, an individual commits second-degree arson if the person purposefully sets fire to a motor vehicle or a building. In addition, there must be a second individual -- who is not a part of the criminal scheme -- inside the vehicle or building when it is set on fire. Also, the individual who allegedly commits the crime must know or reasonably should know that there is a second person inside the vehicle or building. Second-degree arson in New York is considered a class B felony.
Finally, an individual in New York commits first-degree arson if the person purposefully sets fire to or causes an explosion in a motor vehicle or building, which damages the motor vehicle or building. In addition, the fire or explosion must meet one of the following elements. One element is that the incendiary device must have been thrown or put nearby or inside the vehicle or building. Another element is that the fire or explosion must have been caused by an explosive device. Or, the incident must either seriously injure another individual or the incident must have been committed with the expectation that there would be some sort of monetary gain from it, and there is a second individual unrelated to the crime inside vehicle or building and the individual allegedly committing the crime knows or should reasonably know that this is the case. First-degree arson in New York will be prosecuted as a class A-I felony.
Arson, like other property crimes, will be seriously prosecuted in New York. Therefore, those accused of committing arson should make every attempt to create a strong defense. The help of an attorney could be beneficial in such endeavors. It may be possible to challenge evidence presented in an arson case or it may be possible to argue that the accused did not have the required intent to commit arson. The crime of arson could possibly result in incarceration or other far-reaching consequences, making it all the more important for one to counter such charges head-on.