Under Arizona law, knowingly and unlawfully damaging a structure or property by causing a fire or an explosion is arson. However, the nature of the property that is damaged makes a world of difference. If you were charged with arson in Arizona, speak with a Phoenix arson defense lawyer to learn how to protect your legal rights.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1703 classifies arson of a structure as a Class 4 felony. Arson of property is a Class 4 felony is the property had a value of more than one thousand dollars, a Class 5 felony if the property had a value of more than one hundred dollars but not more than one thousand dollars, and a Class 1 misdemeanor if the property had a value of one hundred dollars or less.
A Class 4 felony is punishable by 1 year to 3.75 years imprisonment, up to 4 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000.
A Class 5 felony is punishable by 6 months to 2.5 years imprisonment, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000.
Prior felony convictions can lead to increased punishment and mandatory prison sentences. Moreover, a felony conviction leads to a loss of civil rights, including the right to bear arms.
A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $2,500, up to 3 years of probation, and up to 6 months in jail.
Neither felonies or misdemeanors can be removed from your record and a conviction can lead to serious collateral consequences like loss of employment, housing, loans opportunities, and licensure. Learn more by reaching out to a Phoenix criminal defense attorney experienced with defending against arson charges.
An occupied structure is any building, object, vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or place with sides and a floor, used for lodging, business, transportation, recreation, or storage in which one or more people is or is likely to be present or so near as to be in equivalent danger when a fire or explosion occurs. Any dwelling house is considered an occupied structure, regardless of whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant.
Arson of an occupied structure is a far more serious offense than arson of a non-occupied structure or property. If convicted of arson of an occupied structure, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1703, you face a Class 2 felony.
A Class 2 felony carries a prison term of 3 to 12.5 years, up to 7 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000. Prior felony convictions can increase the sentencing range and make you ineligible for probation so contacting a skilled Phoenix arson lawyer as soon as possible following arson charges is imperative.
Common defenses to arson cases can include:
If you are facing an arson charge in Arizona, whether of an occupied structure or of an unoccupied structure or property, you face serious legal ramifications. Don’t face prison time, fines, loss of liberty, and more on your own. The Phoenix arson lawyers at AZ Defenders have decades of experience in defending those charged with serious crimes. Call today at 480-456-6400 or contact us online for a free consultation so we can determine what the best course of defense is for your individual case.