Whether or not your intention was to cause injury/damage, you could be arrested and charged with arson. A common example of this scenario is a backyard fire pit or small fireworks that you lost control of and resulted in damage or injury to another. When this happens you could be charged criminal with the felony offense of arson. In Burlington County, arson is a third degree indictable felony offense that carries up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison. This is in addition to any fines, probation, mental health screening or restitution required by the court. If you were arrested and charged criminally with arson in Mount Holly, Willingboro, Palmyra, Pemberton,Bass River, Westampton,Mount Laurel, Evesham,Moorestown,Florence, Bordentown or Burlington Township, contact an experienced New Jersey Arson Attorney.
The law in New Jersey for arson offenses is not very complicated at first glance. However, the language points to a fairly broad set of circumstances and the complexity in these cases lies therein. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1b states that a person commis the offense of arson if: (1) that person purposely started a fire or caused an explosion on either their own property or the property of another; and (2) the fire or explosion either:
♦ Recklessly subjected another person to risk of injury/death
♦ Recklessly placed a another person’s structure of another in danger of damage
♦ Recklessly placed a forest in danger of damage, or ♦ Was done with the purpose of collecting insurance
Can I Be Charged with Arson If It Happened on My Own Property?
Yes. The Burlington County Prosecutor only needs to show that you started a fire or explosion and that the fire “recklessly placed a person or property in danger. This means that arson charges can stem from a fire pit in your backyard that got out of control or placed a third-party in danger of injury/death.
What are the Penalties in Burlington County for Arson?
Unless you have been charged with aggravated arson, a simple arson charge with be treated as a third degree indictable offense. As a third degree offense, the penalties are severe. Specifically, a third degree crime in New Jersey carries between three (3) and five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison. In addition to any prison sentence, you may also be subject to probation, fines, restitution and certain other court-mandated services.
Depending upon the circumstances of the underlying incident, you may be eligible for admission into the diversionary program known as Pretrial Intervention. If admitted into the program through consent of the prosecutor, you will be placed on probation for up to three (3) years. Furthermore, if you can successfully complete this period of probation and remain arrest-free, the court will dismiss your original charges.
Burlington Township Arson Lawyers
It is a valuable resource to consult with an attorney if you have been charged with arson so as to at least apprise yourself of the charges and possible penalties. However, whether or not you elect to retain a private attorney is a purely personal decision. The process of selecting legal representation requires a thorough process of research and consultation and you should not rush into any decision. If you would like to consult with a Burlington County Arson Attorney, please contact our office at (609) 850-8284. We can provide you with information about the criminal justice process and the particulars involved in defending a criminal charge for arson.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.