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An arson is committed when a person intentionally sets a building on fire. This is a very serious crime that comes with equally serious consequences. States such as New York State will determine those consequences by defining what degree of arson the accused person committed. Read on to learn more about these degrees and how they affect a person’s punishment.

First-degree of arson

The first degree includes the crime of setting a home or building on fire with the accused having knowledge of someone being inside. In this case, the punishment implemented by the courts will be determined by the severity of the damage.

Second-degree arson

There have been many cases in which the owner has intentionally set their building or home on fire. They might do this to commit insurance fraud and collect the insurance money. Property crimes such as these may lead to a hefty fine and, in some cases, a short stint in prison.

Third-degree arson

The third degree involves a person knowingly setting fire to property without anyone being inside of it. This may involve property such as a parking garage, home or even an empty lot, to name a few.

Aggravated crimes of arson

Perhaps the most severe include aggravated crimes of arson. In this crime, the accused has knowingly set fire to a building with the knowledge of someone being inside of it. What sets this apart from a first degree is that the person or people inside the building received bodily injuries from the fire the accused created. In certain cases, the death of those injured may even lead to the charge being upgraded to murder.

Arson, no matter the degree, has long-lasting consequences someone being convicted of it. If you have been accused of arson, then it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.