New Jersey Arson Defense Lawyers
In New Jersey, arson is considered a very serious crime and the prosecutor’s office has special investigators to investigate arson cases. The prosecutor’s office vigorously prosecutes these case and people accused of arson could face severe sentences. The New Jersey arson law is found at N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1, and defines arson as starting a fire or explosion and recklessly placing a person at risk of injury, or with the purpose of collecting insurance money, or to burn a structure so that it is exempt from any laws or regulations, or recklessly placing a forest in danger.
This is a crime in the 3rd degree and therefore carries a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $15,000, and additional penalties. Regular arson becomes an aggravated arson if the defendant started the fire or explosion on purpose in order to hurt someone, destroy a structure, etc. In other words, arson occurs when the actor intended to start a fire but he was only acting recklessly and didn’t intend to cause the damage. Aggravated arson is when the defendant really intended to cause a person to get hurt, burn a structure, etc. Aggravated arson is a crime in the 2nd degree and carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. Also, the defendant will not be eligible for parole until 85% of the prison term is served in custody.
Penalties for arson become even harsher under certain circumstances. For example, arson becomes a 1st degree crime is the defendant paid someone to start a fire or cause an explosion. This carries a jail term of 10 to 20 years. If the target of the arson is church, synagogue, or other religious place, the crime is also a 1st degree crime, and has a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with no possibility of parole.
Finally, it is important to note that a person does not commit arson if they only burn personal property (as opposed to a structure) without risking the life or safety of anyone else. However, the term “structure” is defined much more broadly than one may expect. For example, a car or boat is defined as a “structure” and there setting fire to those things would result in an arson charge.
Arson Criminal Defense Lawyer Approach (Why Us?)
A person charged with arson could be facing a sentence of many years in prison, with mandatory periods of ineligibility for parole, along with high fines and other penalties. If you are charged with such a crime you will need a lawyer to protect your rights. Besides harsh penalties, a conviction or guilty plea could seriously affect a person for years into the future. Our firm will fight vigorously for you and help you achieve the best results for your arson case. We are skilled at analyzing the evidence that the state intends to use against you and we fight to exploit any holes in the prosecutor’s case. We are experienced in evaluating fire cause and origin reports and can present the fire investigator’s findings to our own expert. We also spend a considerable amount of time in negotiating with the prosecutor so that our client’s get the best plea offers possible. Once a plea offer is made, we counsel our clients about whether it makes sense to accept a plea offer or take their case to trial, where the prosecutor would have to prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Arson Defense Lawyer Free Consultation
If you are charged with any crime, please call us right away for a 100% FREE CONSULTATION, on the phone or in our office. We will review the court documents with you and advise you on what we can do to help you. Remember, the prosecutor’s job is to put people charged with crimes in jail. The prosecutor will not simply listen to your side of the story and drop the case against you. It is important to be represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Please contact us today!
Raff & Raff, LLP
Attorneys at Law
30 Church Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
Tel: (973) 742-1917
Fax: (973) 742-2454