When a person intentionally sets fire to property or causes an explosion in New York, he or she can be charged with the crime of arson. Most cases do not involve any witnesses, so criminal charges are typically the result of an investigation that likely uncovered accelerants, multiple points of origin, or other evidence of a person starting a fire.
Arson may be charged in one of five degrees in New York, all of which except for one are felony offenses. People are frequently accused of either setting fire to another party’s property or occasionally setting fire to their own property as part of an alleged insurance fraud scheme.
Lawyer for Arson Arrests in Nassau County, NY
If you were arrested or think that you could be under investigation for an alleged arson offense anywhere in New York City, it is in your best interest to say absolutely nothing to authorities until you have legal counsel. Law Office of Stephanie Selloni aggressively defends clients charged with property crimes in Oyster Bay, Hempstead, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Mineola, and many surrounding areas of Long Island.
Stephanie Selloni is a skilled criminal defense attorney in Garden City who can fight to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case, including possibly having the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Call (516) 972-1212 right now to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
New York Arson Information Center
- How are arson crimes charged?
- Are there any defenses against arson charges?
- Where can I find more information about arson in Garden City?
Arson crimes in New York are charged in five different degrees:
- Arson in the Fifth Degree, New York Penal Law § 150.01 — Class A misdemeanor if person intentionally damages property of another without consent of the owner by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion;
- Arson in the Fourth Degree, New York Penal Law § 150.05 — Class E felony if person recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion;
- Arson in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law § 150.10 — Class C felony if person intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire or causing an explosion;
- Arson in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law § 150.15 — Class B felony if person intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire when another person who is not a participant in the crime is present in such building or motor vehicle at the time, and the alleged offender knows that fact or the circumstances are such as to render the presence of such a person therein a reasonable possibility;
- Arson in the First Degree, New York Penal Law § 150.20 — Class A-I felony if person intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by causing an explosion or a fire and when such explosion or fire is caused by an incendiary device propelled, thrown or placed inside or near such building or motor vehicle; or when such explosion or fire is caused by an explosive; or when such explosion or fire either causes serious physical injury to another person other than a participant, or the explosion or fire was caused with the expectation or receipt of financial advantage or pecuniary profit by the actor; and when another person who is not a participant in the crime is present in such building or motor vehicle at the time; and the defendant knows that fact or the circumstances are such as to render the presence of such person therein a reasonable possibility.
As used in New York Penal Law § 150.20, incendiary device is defined as “a breakable container designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion upon impact, containing flammable liquid and having a wick or a similar device capable of being ignited.”
The possible consequences of an arson conviction will depend on how the crime was classified. In generally, the statutory maximums allowed for such sentences are as follows:
- Arson in the Fifth Degree — Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail;
- Arson in the Fourth Degree — Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison;
- Arson in the Third Degree — Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison;
- Arson in the Second Degree — Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison;
- Arson in the First Degree — Class A-I felony punishable by up to life in prison.
New York Penal Law recognizes certain affirmative defenses against some arson charges. In a prosecution for arson in the fourth degree, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the alleged offender had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle.
In a prosecution for arson in the third degree, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the alleged offender had a possessory or ownership interest in the building or motor vehicle, or if other persons had such interests:
- All of them consented to the alleged offender’s conduct;
- The alleged offender’s sole intent was to destroy or damage the building or motor vehicle for a lawful and proper purpose; and
- The alleged offender had no reasonable ground to believe that his conduct might endanger the life or safety of another person or damage another building or motor vehicle.
Fire Department | NYC.gov — The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) is the largest fire department in the United States. Visit this website to find recent news, press releases, and reports. You can also find the New York City Fire Code and Fire Department Rules.
New York State Chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators (NYS IAAI) — The IAAI is an international professional association of more than 9,000 fire investigation professionals with the mission to “provide active support to fire, arson, and explosion investigation professionals through leadership in education, training, professional development, certification, networking, advocacy, and the provision of resources.” Visit this website to learn more about the NYS Chapter of the IAAI. You can also find information about geographic zones and Chapter 23 officers.
Law Office of Stephanie Selloni | Garden City Arson Defense Attorney
Do you believe that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested in New York City for arson? Even if you know for a fact that you are completely innocent, you should not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have first contacted Law Office of Stephanie Selloni.
Stephanie Selloni is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Nassau County who represents individuals all over the greater Long Island area, including North Hempstead, Freeport, Garden City, Glen Cove, Massapequa Park, and many others.
You can have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (516) 972-1212 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.