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Arson Attorneys in Haddon Heights, NJ

Haddon Heights is a beautiful neighborhood. With the historic buildings downtown, unique shops, and nearby towns of Haddonfield and Collingswood to enjoy, it is a great place to have our main office. However, there are more than 70 property crimes in Haddon Heights each year, including arson.

New Jersey law imposes harsh penalties for arson, even if nobody was injured and damage to property was relatively mild. The risk to safety and property is enough to result in a conviction, a hefty fine and long prison sentence. You should, therefore, call a dedicated defense lawyer immediately if you are arrested for arson.

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is a dedicated criminal defense law firm. The arson attorneys at our Haddon Heights firm are aggressive and experienced. Four of our lawyers are certified as criminal trial attorneys by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which requires an extensive vetting and examination process. We build a strong defense and protect your rights at every stage of the criminal justice process.

What is Arson?

Arson is the act of knowingly starting a fire or causing an explosion, whether to your own or another owner’s property. Property may be a structure, home, commercial building, vehicle, or even vegetation, grass and trees. Arson is a general intent crime. Therefore, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit the crime charged.

The degree at which the crime is charged and the penalties depend upon the circumstances surrounding the act. Arson is a third degree crime if you purposely commit the act and:

  • Recklessly puts a person at risk of death or bodily injury
  • Recklessly puts another’s structure at risk of damage or destruction
  • Recklessly putting a forest at risk of damage
  • With the purpose of collecting insurance on the structure, or
  • With the purpose of exempting the property from zoning, laws, regulations or ordinances

You face three to five years of incarceration and up to $15,000 in fines if convicted of arson in the third degree. The court may also order restitution to pay for the damage to property and injuries to others.

What is Aggravated Arson?

Aggravated arson is a more serious second-degree crime. To convict on arson in the second degree, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly set the fire or explosion and

  • Purposely or knowingly put a person at risk of death or bodily injury
  • Purposely or knowingly put another’s structure at risk of damage or destruction, or
  • Purposely or knowingly put a forest at risk of damage

The sentence for a second-degree arson is five to 10 years and up to $150,000 in fines. If appropriate, to avoid this harsh penalty, your lawyer may seek a lesser degree arson by attacking intent to cause the damage.

Arson in the First Degree

Prosecutors may pursue first-degree crime charges for arson for hire, in which an agreement to carry out arson is made. Arson for hire is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines. Setting blaze to a house of worship, including a church or a synagogue, is also a first-degree crime, subject to a minimum 15 years imprisonment.

Consult with Our Haddon Heights Arson Lawyers

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is experienced at fighting arson charges. We are assertive trial lawyers and skilled at negotiating for a lesser offense, such as criminal mischief, that avoids harsher sentences and a crime record. Call our Haddon Heights office at 856-547-7888 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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