The crime of arson in Minnesota means destroying or damaging property with fire or explosives. If Minnesota has charged you with arson, you are likely facing severe, life-altering penalties. It is critical to retain an arson attorney who understands these complex laws. The Minnesota criminal defense lawyers at Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. work closely with private arson investigators to aggressively defend clients on complex arson charges across Minnesota.
In Minnesota there are five different degrees of arson, ranging from misdemeanor to felony. Arson cases can be particularly onerous because they often involve experts on both sides who investigate the cause of the fire.
First degree arson has three possible offenses. The first is destroying any building that is used as a dwelling, which may be punishable by a maximum of 20 years, a $20,000 fine or both. The second offense is destroying a building when the defendant knows or reasonably should know another person is in the building. This carries a maximum punishment of 20 years, a $35,000 fine or both. The last offense is to use flammable material to start or accelerate a fire. This is a felony offense and has a maximum punishment of 20 years, a $20,000 fine, or both.
Second degree arson is intentionally destroying or damaging any building not covered by first degree arson as well as other real or personal property worth more than 1,000. This is a felony and the maximum sentence is 10 years, a $20,000 fine or both.
Third degree arson may arise in two situations. First, when any property that is valued between $300 and 1,000 is intentionally destroyed or damaged. Second, when property that is worth more than $300 is unintentionally damaged or destroyed but such damage could reasonably have been foreseen. Third degree arson is a felony and the maximum penalties are no more than 5 years, a $10,000 fine or both.
Fourth degree arson is using fire or explosives to burn personal property in a public building, such as a church, hospital, hotel, or apartment building. This crime is a gross misdemeanor and the maximum punishment is a sentence of 1 year, a $3,000 fine or both.
Fifth degree arson criminalizes burning any real or personal property of value. The maximum sentence is imprisonment for 90 days, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Federal Arson is the crime of setting fire to any building, structure or vessel, any machinery or building materials or supplies, military or naval stores, munitions of war, or structural aids etc. The maximum penalty is 25 years, a fine or both, however if the building is a dwelling or a person’s life is laced in jeopardy, the prison term could be life in jail.
To learn more about how our Minneapolis criminal defense attorney can fight for your future and freedom, contact us for an initial consultation.