Maryland Arson Attorney

Arson

The defendant is charged with the crime of arson. Arson is the willful and malicious setting fire to burning of a dwelling. In order to convict the defendant of arson, the State must prove:

  1. that the defendant set fire to or burned at least part of a dwelling; and
  2. that the setting fire to or burning of the dwelling was willful and malicious.

MD Arson Lawyer A dwelling is a structure in which some part has been adapted for overnight accommodation of an individual, regardless of whether anyone is present at the time the fire is set to the dwelling. It is not a defense to arson that the defendant owns the property, in whole or part. Burning is the actual combustion or charring by fire. The slightest burning of any of any part of the dwelling is sufficient. Willfully means a person acted intentionally, Knowingly, and purposely.

Maliciously means a person acted with the intent to harm others of their property.

Arson-Occupied structure

The defendant is charged with the crime of arson. Arson is the willful and malicious setting fire to or burning of an occupied structure. In order to convict the defendant of arson, the State must prove:

  1. that the defendant set fire to or burned at least part of an occupied structure; and
  2. that the setting fire to or burning of the occupied structure was willful and malicious.

An occupied structure is a structure, other than a dwelling, where another individual, who is not a participant, is present at the time the fire is set or the structure is burned. It is not a defense to arson that the defendant owns the property, in whole or part. Burning is the actual combustion or charring by fire. The slightest burning of any part of the occupied structure is sufficient, Willfully means a person acted intentionally, knowingly, and purposely. Maliciously means a person acted with the intent to harm others or their property.

Arson- Vehicle or other structure

The defendant is charged with crime of arson. Arson is the willful and malicious setting fire to or burning of a [building] [vehicle] [watercraft] [(describe other structure)]. In order to convict the defendant of arson, the State must prove:

  1. that the defendant set fire to or burned at least part of a [building] [vehicle] [watercraft] [(describe other structure)]; and
  2. that the setting fire to or burning of the [building] [vehicle] [watercraft] [(describe other structure)] was willful and malicious.

Burning is the actual combustion or charring by fire. The slightest burning of any part of the [building] [vehicle] [watercraft] [(describe other structure)] is sufficient. Willfully means a person acted intentionally, knowingly, and purposely. Maliciously means a person acted with the intent to harm others or their property. It is a not a defense to arson that the defendant owns the property, in whole or part.

Potential penalties for arson

Arson is classified as either first degree arson or second degree arson, with first degree arson being the more serious of the charges. The difference between the two charges is usually  determined by the structure that was burnt. If the structure was considered a dwelling (a place of residence), or a person burns another type of structure and an individual is inside, it is considered first degree arson. 

If an individual burns a structure that is not a dwelling or occupied, it is considered second degree arson. Both first and second degree arson charges are felonies. It is also illegal to make a threat of arson, which is considered a misdemeanor. The potential penalties for arson are dependent on which charge you receive. Here are the potential penalties for each charge:

First-degree arson: Felony charge with up to 30 years in prison, and fines of up to $50,000

Second-degree arson: Felony charge with up to 20 years in prison, and fines of up to $30,000

Threat of arson: Misdemeanor charge with maximum jail time of up to 10 years in prison

Jezic & Moyse are prepared to handle any type of arson charge you are facing. If you are accused of an arson-related charge, do not hesitate to call one of our qualified criminal defense lawyers to discuss your case. Taking swift legal defense action can protect you from incriminating yourself, and provide you with the best defense advice for your arson case.  

If you face one or more of these charges it is crucial to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.

Source: Maryland Criminal Patern Jury Instruction: 4:00/4:00.1/4:00.2

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