Georgia Arson Lawyer
Arson is a felony offense in Georgia, but whether a person faces first, second, or third degree charges will depend on the specific circumstances of the case at hand. Arson-related allegations should not be taken lightly, as conviction comes with severe penalties, including jail time and fines, so if you were recently arrested for or charged with arson in Georgia, it is critical to contact an experienced Georgia arson lawyer who can walk you through your legal options.
First Degree Felony Charges
Arson is charged as either a first, second, or third degree felony in Georgia, with first degree charges considered the most serious. A person can expect to face first degree charges if he or she is accused of knowingly causing or encouraging someone else to damage one of the following by fire or explosives:
- Any dwelling house, whether occupied or vacant;
- Any building, vehicle, boat, or other structure;
- Any house, building, vehicle, or other property as part of a scheme to defraud a spouse or co-owner; or
- Any property where the endangerment of human life is reasonably foreseeable.
Arson in the first degree comes with severe penalties, including fines of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to 20 years. These are not the only penalties that a person accused of first degree arson will face. If, for example, a fire led to another person’s injury or death, a defendant could also be charged with those additional offenses.
Second Degree Felony Charges
Second degree arson charges, while not as serious as their first degree counterparts, can still come with severe consequences if a person is convicted, including up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of $25,000. However, a person can only be convicted of this offense in Georgia if prosecutors can prove that he or she damaged or helped someone else to harm a property or structure not covered by first degree arson laws, through the use of fire or explosives.
Third Degree Felony Charges
In Georgia, a defendant can be convicted of third degree arson if prosecutors can demonstrate that he or she knowingly damaged, or helped someone else to damage:
- Personal property in which someone else has a security interest worth at least $25;
- Personal property that is insured against loss or damage by fire and is valued at $25 or more; or
- Personal property with the intent of defrauding the rights of a spouse or co-owner when the value of the property is $25 or more.
Finally, a person can be convicted of third degree arson when he or she damages someone else’s property through the use of fire during the commission of another felony. If convicted of this offense, defendants face fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for at least one, but up to five years.
Call an Experienced Georgia Arson Lawyer for Help
If you were recently accused of committing arson, you could be confronted with serious penalties. Please reach out to the dedicated Georgia arson attorneys at Hawkins Spizman by calling (770) 209-2310 to learn more about your potential defense strategies.