Arson is the intentional setting of a fire. Under Georgia’s arson laws, the crime is charged as a felony.
Three statutes cover the crime of arson in Georgia. First-degree arson carries the harshest penalties while third-degree arson has a lesser sentence. However, any degree of arson carries a sentence of at least a year in prison.
The three types of arson are as follows:
- First-Degree: When the defendant uses fire or explosives to cause damage to a home, vehicle, or another structure
- Second-Degree: When an individual encourages or helps another person in the commission of arson
- Third-Degree: When a person uses fire or explosives cause damage to cause damage to personal property with a value of $25 or more.
Georgia’s Arson Laws – Why You Can Face a Long Prison Term
Arson in the first degree can land the accused in prison for a long time. The offense is punishable by a fine up to $50,000, imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years, or both. A dwelling does not have to be occupied for a defendant to be charged with first-degree arson.
Second-degree arson entails a prison term of at least a year and no more than 10 years as well as a potential fine not exceeding $25,000.
Third-degree arson entails a prison term of at least a year, and no more than 5 years as well as a fine not exceeding $10,000.
On top of fines and prison time, a judge may order the defendant to pay damages to cover the loss of property caused by the fire.
Georgia’s arson laws are strict and arson carries considerable stigma. People convicted of the crime may find it difficult to secure a job or qualify for an educational course after serving their time.
There are defenses to the crime. On occasions, people may light fires when they do not intend to damage property and the blazes get out of control.
An experienced Newnan criminal defense attorney will review your arson changes and fight them vigorously. Call us today at (404) 913-1529.