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What Is the Crime of Arson?




Question: What Is the Crime of Arson?
Answer: Arson is the intentional burning of a structure or building. The structure does not have to be a residence or business, it can be any building to which the fire causes structural damage.

Some jurisdictions have laws providing for different degrees of arson charges, such as first-degree or second-degree arson. Usually, first-degree arson is charged when someone is injured or killed as a result of the fire. Second-degree arson is charged when the damage caused by the fire is extensive.

Arson can also be charged against anyone who maliciously sets forest fires, crop fires or any kind of wildfire. Some states have the lesser charge of "reckless burning" for cases in which wildfires are not intentional or willful, but the result of reckless behavior.

Depending on the intent of the person who starts the fire, sometimes arson is prosecuted as a lesser charge of criminal damage to property.

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