Years ago arson used to be the malicious burning of a person’s home. Today in Alabama arson is defined as the burning of any building. There are three different degrees of arson. First and second degree arson are the intentional burning of a building. To be charged with third degree arson the burning doesn’t have to be intentional, only reckless. Also, it makes a difference whether there is a person inside the building.
You should talk to a lawyer who often works in the area of criminal law before making any decisions about an arson charge. At Skier & Associates we are ready and willing to sit down and discuss your arson case with you, explain the legal process and what will come next, offer you advice on what you should do next, and discuss representing you if your case goes to court.
FIRST DEGREE ARSON – Code of Alabama Section 13A-7-41
A person commits the crime of arson in the first degree if he or she “intentionally damages a building by starting or maintaining a fire or causing an explosion,” and when another person is present in the building at the time, and the person who starts the fire knows that another person is in the home, or the circumstances make the presence of a person inside a reasonable possibility.
Arson in the first degree is a Class A felony and the possible sentence is 10-99 years or life in prison.
SECOND DEGREE ARSON – Code of Alabama Section 13A-7-42
A person commits the crime of arson in the second degree if he or she “intentionally damages a building by starting or maintaining a fire or causing an explosion.”
A person does not commit second degree arson if no person other than himself has a possessory or proprietary interest in the building damaged; or if other persons have those interests, all of them consented to his conduct; and his sole intent was to destroy or damage the building for a lawful and proper purpose.
A person commits the crime of arson in the second degree if he or she “intentionally starts or maintains a fire or causes an explosion which damages property in a detention facility or a penal facility” with reckless disregard (because of the nature or extent of the damage caused or which would have been caused but for the intervention of others) for the safety of others.
Arson in the second degree is a Class B felony and the possible sentence is 2-20 years.
THIRD DEGREE ARSON – Code of Alabama Section 13A-7-43
A person commits the crime of arson in the third degree if he or she “recklessly damages a building by a fire or an explosion.”
A person does not commit arson in the third degree if no person other than himself has a possessory or proprietary interest in the damaged building.
Arson in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor and the sentence in the county jail cannot be for more than one year.
The information above is only intended as a general guide to the law surrounding arson.There is no replacement for getting quality advice of an experienced lawyer who has worked with similar cases and who works with these laws daily. Skier & Associates are ready and willing to discuss the specific facts of your case with you and to inform you of the possible actions you may take. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (334) 263-4105.