Contact Attorney Joshua London If You’ve Been Charged With Arson in Minnesota!
Arson often comes with severe punishments in Minnesota. This is partially because of the unrestrained danger that fire can pose, especially in our packed cities. If you are being investigated or charged for arson, you should immediately contact an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney for help.
Arson is punished in five degrees which attract increasingly greater jail terms and fines, depending on how much damage is done. The degrees are as follows:
- Fifth degree: A person can be charged with arson in the fifth degree if they intentionally set fire to any real or personal property. This includes setting fire to any part of a building or movable property, even if the property belongs to the defendant. The offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or $1,000 fine.
- Fourth degree: The offense occurs when a person intentionally sets fire to any personal property in a multiple unit residential building or public building. The offense applies to circumstances that are not serious enough to be charged in the third, second or first degree. Arson in the fourth degree attracts up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $3,500.
- Third degree: Arson in the third degree is committed if a person intentionally sets fire to property worth $300 to $1,000. The offense also applies if the property involved was unintentionally set on fire, but the damage which occurred could have been foreseen and avoided. The punishment is up to 5 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
- Second degree: For second degree arson, the property intentionally set on fire must be valued at over $1,000. In addition, the circumstances surrounding the offense must be lower than the threshold for arson in the first degree. The punishment is up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $20,000.
- First degree: This is the most serious arson offense. It is committed when a person intentionally sets fire to a building used as a dwelling place or connected to one, even if no one was home at the time of the fire. The offense also applies if the building set on fire has occupants, even if it is not a dwelling place. Using certain accelerants to set a fire may also result in being charged with arson in the first degree. The punishment is up to 20 years in jail or fines up to $20,000 or $35,000.
A person may also be charged with wildfire arson if they start a fire in the woods that goes out of control. The punishment depends on how many acres burned.
Another offense that may be charged is starting a negligent fire. This applies where someone negligently starts a fire, such as a yard fire on a windy day, that goes out of control and destroys property.
Considering the serious repercussions for anyone convicted of arson, you should contact an attorney at once if you were charged with any of these offenses.