Generally, it is the act of setting the fire that meets the element for arson, so even if the fire is minimal, it is still considered arson. Most states do recognize varying degrees of arson, however, based upon the amount of damage caused, whether the arson posed a danger to human life, and whether the arson was intended to defraud, such as insurance fraud.
An arson conviction can result in a prison sentence of five to 15 years in most states. If tried in federal court, the penalty is a minimum of five years in a federal prison.
Some arson is committed with the intent to collect illegally on an insurance claim. Others are meant to disguise or cover up another crime. There are also arsonists, considered pyromaniacs, who just enjoy setting fires.
To consult State Legislation regarding arson laws and regulations please see the Criminal Code by State page. Visit Us at Google+ Copyright HG.org
Arson Law – US
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Arson
ATF is law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice with unique responsibilities dedicated to protecting the public, reducing violent crime, and enforcing the Federal explosives law and regulations.
- Criminal Law - Arson
The elements of arson are setting a fire that reaches a structure and, in turn, burns said structure. Arson law also treats explosions as burnings. The common law rule is that however slight the burning, the arson is complete, so it doesn't matter how much burning takes place.
- FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program - Arson and Property Crime
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines arson as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.
- Federal Sentencing Guidelines - §2K1.4. Arson; Property Damage by Use of Explosives
Base Offense Level (Apply the Greatest): (1) 24, if the offense (A) created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to any person other than a participant in the offense, and that risk was created knowingly; or (B) involved the destruction or attempted destruction of a dwelling, an airport, an aircraft, a mass transportation facility, a mass transportation vehicle, a ferry, a public transportation system, a state or government facility, an infrastructure facility, or a place of public use ; (2) 20, if the offense (A) created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to any person other than a participant in the offense; (B) involved the destruction or attempted destruction of a structure other than (i) a dwelling, or (ii) an airport, an aircraft, a mass transportation facility, a mass transportation vehicle, a ferry, a public transportation system, a state or government facility, an infrastructure facility, or a place of public use; or (C) endangered (i) a dwelling, (ii) a structure other than a dwelling, or (iii) an airport, an aircraft, a mass transportation facility, a mass transportation vehicle, a ferry, a public transportation system, a state or government facility, an infrastructure facility, or a place of public use; or (3) 2 plus the offense level from §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud).
- Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act of 2009
To establish guidelines and incentives for States to establish criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registries and to require the Attorney General to establish a national criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registry program, and for other purposes.
- US Fire Administration (USFA)
As an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, the mission of the USFA is to foster a solid foundation in prevention, preparedness, and response by providing national leadership to local fire and emergency services.
- Use of Arson or Explosives When a Labor Dispute is Involved—18 U.S.C. 844(i)
At the time that the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 amended Title 18, United States Code, by adding sections 841 et seq., governing the importation, manufacture, distribution and storage of explosive materials and creating certain Federal offenses pertaining to the unlawful use of explosives, Congress expressly disclaimed intent to occupy the field to the exclusion of state law on the same subject matter.
Arson Law - Europe
- Confederation of Fire Protection Association Europe (CFPA-Europe)
The Confederation of Fire Protection Association Europe (CFPA-Europe) is an association of national organisations in Europe concerned primarily with fire prevention & protection and also safety & security and other associated risks.
- Fire and Rescue National Framework (Wales) 2005 (Revisions) Order 2007
- UK Statute Law - Criminal Damage Act 1971 (c.48)
An Act to revise the law of England and Wales as to offences of damage to property, and to repeal or amend as respects the United Kingdom certain enactments relating to such offences; and for connected purposes.
Arson Law - International
- Arson Law - Australia
Arson is the act of intentionally and maliciously destroying or damaging property through the use of fire. Within this definition there are four core elements: * the lighting of fire - fire is the fundamental element of arson; if there is no fire lit, there is no arson (some legal definitions also include lighting explosives); * intention or wilfulness - excludes fires started by natural causes or accidents; * malice - excludes fires started intentionally with positive or legitimate intent; and * property - there must be some kind of property or object that is burned.
- Criminal Code of Canada - Part XI Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property
- International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The International Association of Fire Chiefs represents the leadership of over 1.2 million firefighters and emergency responders. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.
Organizations Related to Arson Law
- Arson Prevention Bureau - UK
The Arson Prevention Bureau website provides advice and information to help tackle the problem of arson nationally. On this site you will find statistics on arson trends, measures you can take to protect yourself, information about arson and arson prevention, and more detailed research reports.
- Firesetting and Youth
About one in every four fires is intentionally set -- and almost half of these fires was set by youth under the age of 18. Arson is a serious crime. It injures and kills people, destroys properties, and destabilizes neighborhoods. According to the FBI, juvenile firesetters accounted for roughly half (at least 49%) or more of those arrested for arson -- for the ninth straight year.
- International Association of Arson Investigators (I.A.A.I.)
The International Association of Arson Investigators is dedicated to improving the professional development of fire and explosion investigators by being the global resource for fire investigation training, technology and research.
- International Association of Property Crime Investigators
Mission and Goals: To be the leading international, non-profit, professional organization committed to providing intelligence, networking, training and education to the law enforcement community and other disciplines in property crime investigations and prevention.
- NCJRS - Property Crime - Arson
NCJRS is a federally funded resource offering justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide.
- Staying Alive - Arson
Staying Alive is a non-profit organization that promotes public safety education through classroom and community multimedia presentations; public informational displays at schools, events, shopping malls and community centers; public awareness campaigns; and through information, interactive games and exercises available on its Internet web site. Staying Alive has developed a successful age-appropriate curriculum program targeted at K-8 students to raise awareness about fire safety.
Publications Related to Arson Law
- America Burning Revisited
This follow-up to the original report, AMERICA BURNING, reviews the progress made to combat the fire problem and to redefine the strategies need to further reduce loss of life and property to fire.
- Essays on Arson & Pyromania
- Impulse Control Disorders Symptoms - Pyromania
Pyromania Symptoms: Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion. Tension or affective arousal before the act. Fascination with, interest in, curiosity about, or attraction to fire and its situational contexts (e.g., paraphernalia, uses, consequences). Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires, or when witnessing or participating in their aftermath. The fire setting is not done for monetary gain, as an expression of socio-political ideology, to conceal criminal activity, to express anger or vengeance, to improve one's living circumstances, in response to a delusion or hallucination, or as a result of impaired judgment.
Articles on HG.org Related to Arson Law
- What is Arson (Penal Code § 451 and § 452) and Its Defenses?Penal Code § 451 states that a person is “guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsel or procures the burning of any structure, forest land or property.” A conviction for a violation of § 451 is a felony, carrying with it a minimum prison sentence of sixteen months and a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.
- The Defense of a Criminal Arson CaseThe defense of a charge of criminal arson can be one of the most difficult and challenging tasks for an experienced criminal defense attorney.
- Cameron Todd Willingham: Improper or Wrongful ConvictionTexas forensic science commission concludes flawed science used in trial that led to conviction and execution.
- Dog Handler Discredited: False Results, Exaggerated Claims ExposedPopular law enforcement dog handler discredited after false results, exaggerated claims of accuracy exposed.
- Criminal Defense in IllinoisFor those who have never before faced criminal charges, an arrest can be a frightening experience. The stress and anxiety of an arrest may cause you, your family members or friends to overlook important factors, such as the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer.
- Hiring a Private Investigator: What to Look ForMany states only require Private Investigators pass a written test to hang a shingle on their wall and open for business. This does not qualify a person to be an "Investigator" by any means. When you’re faced with the need to employ the services of a Private Investigator become informed before making a decision on who to use.
- Sex Crimes: Serious Crimes with Weak EvidenceProsecutors will tell you that criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual conduct does not occur in public. As a result, there are seldom witnesses and it is necessary to protect victims making allegations. However, is the nature of the offense truly a basis to permanently mar an innocent; defendant's record in a country where we have a strong presumption that the individual is innocent until proven guilty? Review this article on allegations of criminal sexual conduct.
- Drug Charges and Their DefenseDrug offenses come in many varieties with one common factor, the penalties for a conviction are severe and may result in lengthy prison sentences and fines. An aggressive defense is necessary. Review this article related to drug charges and their defense.
- Assault and its DefenseFalse allegations of assault occur regularly and a conviction may result in serious penalties including collateral consequences that may not be readily apparent. Review this article on assault and its defense.
- DWI Laws: Do they violate the Constitution's Protections Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure?Can you be compelled to provide a sample of blood breath or urine for testing or rbe charged with a crime for a refusal? Why are the DWI laws allowed to skirt constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure by requiring a warrantless search? Review this article to see how the laws have come under attack.
- All Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law including: arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, controlled substances, credit card fraud, criminal defense, criminal law, drugs and narcotics, DUI, DWI, embezzlement, fraud, expungements, felonies, homicide, identity theft, manslaughter, money laundering, murder, perjury, prostitution, rape, RICO, robbery, sex crimes, shoplifting, theft, weapons, white collar crime and wire fraud.