September 11, 2017By Brian Manchester
Have you or someone you know been charged with Arson in Pennsylvania? The charge of Arson in Pennsylvania can have very serious consequences that can include up to five years in prison and thousands in fines.
There are varying degrees of Arson in Pennsylvania; including Felonies that can result in the death penalty, life in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, Felony charges, Misdemeanor charges, and even a summary offense. The multiple different subsections for the charge of Arson in Pennsylvania they are as follows;
(a) Arson Endangering Persons.
(1) A person commits a felony of the first degree if you start a fire or causes an explosion, that recklessly places another person in danger of death or bodily injury, or purposefully destroy; or damage an inhabited building or occupied structure of another.
(2) A person commits murder of the second degree if the fire or explosion causes the death of any person, or is guilty of murder of the first degree if the fire was set with the purpose of causing the death of another person and another person dies.
(a.1) Aggravated Arson.
(1) A person commits a felony of the first degree if he intentionally starts a fire that causes bodily injury to another person, or a felony when a person is present inside the property at the time of the offense.
(2) A person who commits aggravated arson is guilty of murder of the second degree if the fire or explosion causes the death of any person.
(a.2) Arson Of Historic Resource. – A person commits a felony of the second degree if the person, with the intent of destroying or damaging a historic resource of another, intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on the person’s own property or that of another or aids another.
(c) Arson Endangering Property. – A person commits a felony of the second degree if he intentionally starts a fire with intent of destroying or damaging a building or unoccupied structure of another; or recklessly places an inhabited building or occupied structure in danger of damage or destruction; or commits the act with intent of destroying or damaging any property, to collect insurance for such loss.
(d) Reckless Burning Or Exploding. – A person commits a felony of the third degree if he intentionally starts a fire, and recklessly places an uninhabited building or unoccupied structure of another in danger of damage or destruction; or places any personal property of another having a value that exceeds $5,000 or if the property is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle in danger of damage or destruction.
(d.1) Dangerous Burning. – A person commits a summary offense if he intentionally or recklessly starts a fire to endanger any person or property of another whether or not any damage to person or property actually occurs.
(e) Failure To Control Or Report Dangerous Fires. – A person who knows that a fire is endangering the life or property of another and fails to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire, when he can do so without substantial risk to himself, or to give a prompt fire alarm, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he knows that he is under an official, contractual or other legal duty to control or combat the fire; or the fire was started, albeit lawfully, by him or with his assent, or on property in his custody or control.
(f) Possession Of Explosive Or Incendiary Materials Or Devices. – A person commits a felony of the third degree if he possesses, manufactures or transports any incendiary or explosive device or material with the intent to use or to provide such device or material to commit any offense described in this chapter.
(1) A person convicted of violating the provisions of subsection (a)(2), murder of the first degree, shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without right to parole; a person convicted of murder of the second degree, pursuant to subsection (a)(2), shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without right to parole. Notwithstanding provisions to the contrary, no language herein shall infringe upon the inherent powers of the Governor to commute said sentence.
(2) A person convicted under subsection (a.1) may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall be fixed by the court at not more than 40 years if bodily injury results to a firefighter, police officer or other person actively engaged in fighting the fire; or serious bodily injury results to a civilian.
As you can see from this very lengthy statue to which I have trimmed down, being charges with Arson in Pennsylvania is a very serious offense. The results of a conviction are all over the board from a summary violation that would result in a fine, to possible murder charges that can result in the death penalty or life in prison, to everything else in between. If the police arrest you for Arson it is very important to be polite but remain silent and request to speak with your lawyer right away. Anything you say can and will be used against you. With so much at risk it is important that you exercise your constitutional rights from the very beginning.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away in you or someone you know is charged with Arson in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a strategy session, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.