Often we forget about the danger that fire presents to us. Often, we simply associate fire with a warm living room or a cozy camp out under the stars. It’s crucial to remember the danger that comes with fire however, especially if it’s malicious.
The malicious and destructive use of fire, regardless if someone gets hurt or not, is considered arson. In Maryland, the malicious and willful burning of someone’s property is also considered a crime.
By becoming more knowledgeable about Maryland arson law, you will be able to know exactly what constitutes arson as a criminal act and how to prepare for your case if you are facing charges.
Maryland Arson Law
In Maryland, arson or burning laws are listed together to be classified as crimes. If you or anyone you may know has been charged with an arson offense, it won’t be considered a minor offense. In Maryland, there are three degrees of arson offenses:
- First Degree. The burning of a dwelling maliciously and willfully.
- Second Degree. It is the burning of a structure maliciously and willfully. Under Maryland law, a structure can be a barn, detached garage, camper, boat, warehouse, commercial building, or even a motor vehicle.
- Malicious Burning. Is the burning or setting fire in a hostile and willful manner to the personal property of another person. This also includes first and second-degree convictions. The first degree addresses damages of over $1,000, and the second degree addresses damages of under $1,000.
Arson, in the first degree, holds significant consequences. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is wholly devoted to investigating explosive, burning, and arson cases. Arson is a crime that is taken seriously by both prosecutors and police.
If convicted of first-degree arson, the crime is punishable by felony offense and up to 30 years in prison. Under the law, malicious intent is defined as an act that was done with an intent to harm another. Being convicted of a first-degree arson charge is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000.
Second-degree arson also requires that there is malicious intent. Arson in the second degree is also a felony conviction, however it carries a lesser sentence – up to 20 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.
Malicious Burning Convictions
A first-degree malicious burning charge is also a felony conviction. This conviction results in a sentence of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, a second-degree malicious burning charge is a misdemeanor. This conviction is a sentence of up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $500.
In addition to the convictions stated above, there is restitution to be paid. If you are convicted of arson or burning crime, you will be ordered to pay restitution for the damages you have caused, which can number in the millions.
Let The Experts Help You If You Are Accused of Arson or Malicious Burning
As you can see, arson is a severe crime in the state of Maryland. Any arson or malicious burning charge can be a stressful and scary situation for you. You may think that no one is interested in hearing and advocating for you. Navigating an arson charge can be challenging. Get an attorney that you can trust.
An experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney will be able to help you and guide you through the complex legal processes ahead. Don’t let a legal situation overwhelm you. Get yourself an advocate who is on your side.
Jeremy Widder Law is a Maryland-based legal firm specializing in protective orders and minor offenses, substance-related offenses, property crimes and non-violent felonies, and significant offenses and violent felonies.
We are committed to walking with you from start to finish and giving your case the required attention. We are ready to help. Contact us today.