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Arson

New Jersey Defense Lawyers for Defendants Facing Arson Charges in Freehold

New Jersey’s arson statute outlines four separate criminal offenses, all of which carry the potential for substantial fines and long-term imprisonment. Whether you have been charged with aggravated arson, arson, failure to control or report a dangerous fire, or conspiracy to commit arson, you need to take your situation very seriously, and this starts with hiring experienced legal representation.

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is a team of highly-experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers who have handled numerous cases involving charges of arson and arson-related offenses in Freehold, New Jersey and elsewhere in the state. Individuals charged with arson will often have numerous defenses available, and avoiding punishment (or mitigating your punishment, if necessary) requires a strategic and aggressive approach focused on attacking the prosecution’s case from all angles. When we represent you, we will explore all potential defenses to the crime alleged, and we will fight vigorously to protect you against the dire consequences of a guilty verdict at trial.

Arson and Arson-Related Offenses in New Jersey

Section 2C:17-1 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice defines four separate arson-related offenses:

1. Aggravated Arson

Under Section 2C:17-1.a, a person is guilty of aggravated arson if he or she, “starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another’s,” with the purpose of:

  • Placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury;
  • Destroying a building or structure belonging to someone else;
  • Collecting insurance for the damage caused under circumstances that recklessly place another person in danger of death or bodily injury;
  • Exempting the damaged structure from any zoning or building law or regulation while recklessly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or,
  • Destroying or damaging any forest.

Aggravated arson is a second-degree offense, punishable by 5 to 10 years of imprisonment and up to a $150,000 fine.

2. Arson

Under Section 2C:17-1.b, a person is guilty of arson if he or she, “starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another’s,” while:

  • Recklessly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury;
  • Recklessly placing a building or structure belonging to someone else in danger of damage or destruction;
  • Intending to collect insurance for the damage caused;
  • Intending to exempt the property from any zoning or building law or regulation; or
  • Recklessly placing a forest in danger of damage or destruction.

Arson is a third-degree offense, punishable by three to five years of imprisonment and up to a $15,000 fine.

3. Failure to Control or Report a Dangerous Fire

Under Section 2C:17-1.c., it is a fourth-degree offense to, “fail[] to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire, when [a person] can do so without substantial risk to himself, or to give prompt fire alarm,” if that person knows that a fire is endangering life or a substantial amount of property of another and either (i) that person is under an official, contractual or other legal duty to prevent or combat the fire; or, (ii) the fire was started on property within that person’s custody or control.

The fourth-degree offense of failure to control or report a dangerous fire is punishable by up to 18 months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

4. Conspiracy to Commit Arson

Conspiracy to commit arson, which is defined as “directly or indirectly, pay[ing] or accept[ing] or offer[ing] to pay or accept any form of consideration including, but not limited to, money or any other pecuniary benefit, regardless of whether any consideration is actually exchanged for the purpose of starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of [Section 2C:17-1],” is a first-degree indictable offense. First-degree offenses carry prison sentences of 10 years or more and fines of up to $200,000.

Contact a Freehold Arson Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

Our attorneys are available to represent you if you have been charged with arson or an arson-related offense in Freehold, NJ. To speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in confidence, call (877) 435-6371 or request a consultation online now.

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