Arson is charged along four degrees in New Jersey, depending on factors specific to each level. At the Fourth Degree level, you are being charged with the crime of failing to report a fire or failing to take reasonable steps to put out a fire, when people or property are at risk.
The maximum penalty for Fourth Degree Arson is 18 months.
This is the only level of Arson where you are not accused of setting a fire, but acting negligently or recklessly in response to it.
As a Third Degree charge, you are alleged to have started a fire that recklessly puts people or property in danger, is designed to collect insurance money, or threatens a forest. This charge carries a sentence of 3-5 years in state prison, with a fine up to $15,000.
Aggravated Arson is one way that Second Degree Arson is described.
You are alleged to have purposely started a fire knowing that it puts others in danger, with the intention of destroying another person’s property, or that you committed the act to collect insurance and did it in such a way that put people in danger.
Arson in the Second Degree carries a sentence of 5-10 years in state prison, and fines up to $150,000.
If the prosecution believes you were paid to start a fire, or that you paid someone else to start a fire, or if the fire was set in a house of worship, you will be charged with Arson in the First Degree.
Upon conviction, you will be facing 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
Arson is an extremely serious crime that carries significant risk of imprisonment.
Call attorney Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation with one of New Jersey’s most experienced criminal defense attorneys.