In New Jersey intentionally destroying property is taken very seriously by law enforcement and can lead to serious consequences, including felony charges. One particular act that is treated harshly is arson or attempted arson. This criminal act can not only cause a significant amount of damage to property, but it can lead to death. State law dictates what acts a person will have to commit to face these charges.
Aggravated arson is a second-degree crime and will be charged if a person causes a fire or an explosion on his or her property or the property of another person and does so: knowingly to put another person at risk for death or for injury; to destroy the property; to collect the insurance on the property and places another’s life and health in danger; to destroy or damage the structure for exemption of various state laws for regulations and other factors; or to damage or destroy a forest.
A person who fails to report a dangerous fire or does not control it – without placing him or herself in danger – and that fire can place lives or property in jeopardy will be charged with a fourth degree crime under the following circumstances: the individual is aware that there is a duty legally, officially or contractually to take steps to stop the fire; if the fire was lit by the individual or with the individual’s approval or on a property that was in the person’s control or custody even if it was done lawfully. If a person who pays for or takes payment or receives financial consideration in exchange for the starting of the fire, it will be a first degree crime.
When there is an arrest for attempted arson or outright arson charges, those who are being accused of these acts need to understand that they’re running the risk of jail time and other significant punishments that can affect their lives for an extended period if not forever. Given the long-term issues that can result from a conviction on arson charges, it’s imperative to lodge a strong defense with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.