Statistics show that there were over 32,000 instances of Arson in the United States during 2019 alone. Most of these crimes involved burning structures, but a significant number of offenses also involved burning vehicles. If you have been charged with Arson in Mississippi, it is important to get help from a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can mitigate any potential consequences that you face, and they will fight for your rights without judgment.
Types of Arson in Mississippi
There are many different types of arson, and each case is handled differently under Mississippi law, depending on the unique circumstances of the crime. That being said, arson is almost always a felony.
- Firing Woods, Marsh, Meadow, etc: If you willfully set fire to woods, a meadow, or a similar piece of land that does not belong to you, you face a felony charge. However, the penalties are relatively light in this situation. You will face a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine of up to $1,000 (or both). If the fire is determined to be the result of your negligence or recklessness, you will face a misdemeanor instead.
- First Degree Arson: If you “willfully and maliciously” set fire to a dwelling house (occupied, vacant, or unoccupied), you face a charge of arson in the first degree. Upon a guilty conviction, you will face anywhere from five to 20 years in prison. You will also be forced to pay for any damage caused. Setting fire to a school is also first degree arson.
- Second Degree Arson: If you “willfully and maliciously” set fire to any building or structure whatsoever, you will face a charge of arson in the second degree. Upon a guilty conviction, you will spend between one and 10 years in prison.
- Third Degree Arson: If you “willfully and maliciously” set fire to someone else’s property that has the value of at least $25, you face a charge of arson in the third degree. Unlike other forms of arson, this charge involves setting fire to someone’s personal property – not a building or structure. If you are found guilty, you face a prison sentence of between one and three years.
- Fourth Degree Arson: If you “willfully and maliciously” attempt to set fire to a building or property outlined in the above sections, you will be charged with arson in the fourth degree. The keyword here is “attempt.” You do not need to successfully set fire to property in order to be charged with this crime. If you are found guilty, you will face a prison sentence of between one and two years. You will also be fined a maximum sum of $1,000. It is worth noting that placing flammable materials inside a building could result in a fourth degree arson charge, as long as the prosecution can prove that you intended to return later and ignite the materials.
Get Help From a Qualified Attorney Today
A qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight for justice. Reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. today.