It is not uncommon whenever a fire breaks out in a New Jersey building for arson to be suspected. Whether it is to collect insurance proceeds or simply because the arsonist enjoys watching fires, a few people commit arson. As a result, arson investigations are conducted by police and fire personnel.
New Jersey law defines what arson is in the Garden State and what the punishments for it are. This is of interest to New Jersey residents simply because so many people have been accused of arson over the years. This blog post will provide some basic information about arson and how New Jersey’s legal system responds to it.
Arson is defined in New Jersey as purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion, thereby recklessly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury or recklessly placing a building or structure of another in danger of damage or destruction. A person found guilty of arson faces a prison sentence of three to five years.
Aggravated arson is when a person purposely or knowingly places another person in danger of death or bodily injury by purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion. It also happens when a person starts a fire or causes an explosion with the purpose of destroying a building or structure of another. This can result in a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, upon conviction.
Anyone who pays or offers to pay or accepts an offer of payment with the purpose of starting a fire or causing an explosion is guilty of a first degree crime and faces a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
It is not impossible for a fire to start accidentally but the authorities wrongly suspect arson. It is also not impossible for arson to happen but the wrong person is accused of it. Either way, arson charges are serious and should get a serious response from a defendant.