Aggravated Arson Attorneys in Hudson County NJ
Aggravated arson one of a number of serious arson related offenses. Aggravated arson is a second degree crime that carries, if convicted a likely prison term and it is usually associated with criminal charges. As a second degree offense, aggravated arson carries presumption for imprisonment, meaning that persons convicted of the crime will be sentenced to a period in prison unless the defendants can show some extenuating circumstances rendering prison inappropriate or unjust. Typically, aggravated arson will be upgraded from simple arson in situations where the defendant acts knowingly or purposely to set a fire and thereby recklessly causes death or harm to another individual during a fire. In most situations the death or harm is a byproduct of the individual being located in a building that is set ablaze. This will normally suffice for conviction of an aggravated arson charge. However, experienced and knowledgeable trial attorneys can often help sway a jury in the defendants favor by attacking the mental state requirement of the crime. In addition, a defendant whom has been charged with aggravated arson is often times also charged with aggravated assault, trespassing, criminal mischief, arson and burglary as well. Our team of Hudson County, NJ aggravated arson defense attorneys are prepared to aggressively fight to protect your freedom. Our office has been defending individual’s charged with various criminal offenses throughout Hudson County New Jersey for over fifteen years. We strongly recommend that if you are facing charges for aggravated arson, that you should seek the assistance of knowledgeable attorneys.
Hudson County NJ Aggravated Arson Lawyers : N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1
The aggravated arson statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1, is a rather complex New Jersey Statute. Generally, it requires that the State prove the following elements in order to obtain a conviction:
- That an individual,
- Started a fire or caused an explosion,
- On his property or the property of another, AND
- These actions have the result or intention to:
- Thereby purposely or knowingly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying a building or structure of another; or with the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage to such property under circumstances which recklessly place any other person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying or damaging a structure in order to exempt the structure, completely or partially, from provisions of zoning ordinance or building laws, regulations, or ordinances, AND the circumstances recklessly place another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying or damaging any forest.
It is clear from the wording of this statute that the mental state of the defendant is an important factor when prosecuting an aggravated arson charge. It is an essential element of both simple arson and aggravated arson for the defendant to purposely start a fire or cause an explosion. A person acts purposely when it the conscious object of their actions to produce a specific result. A person acts knowingly when they are aware the result will occur or are aware of a high probability that the result will occur. Accordingly, aggravated arson requires only that a person was aware of a high probability that bodily injury will result from the fire or explosion. Typically, with the exception of death or bodily injury to another, aggravated arson requires that the defendant purposely acted to achieve a desired result. It is not enough that the person was aware or knew that a result would occur. The individual must intend that the destruction takes place. Alternatively, when the arsonist seeks to cause the death or bodily injury of another it is enough that the arsonist was aware or knew that the injuries could result from the fire or explosion. Other situations that can underlie an aggravated arson charge include setting fires to a structure for the purpose of collecting insurance or avoiding building or zoning laws. In these circumstances, the arsonist must intend to damage the structure and thereby, recklessly place another individual at risk of death or bodily injury. A person acts recklessly when they disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk; a person disregards a substantial risk when they grossly deviate from a normal standard of conduct when presented with such a risk.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Arson?
It is a crime in the second degree when an individual is convicted of aggravated arson. This offense carries a prison sentence between five (5) and ten (10) years, as well as potentially substantial fines. Fines associated with an aggravated arson offense can reach up to $150.000. Second Degree Aggravated Arson is subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act. As a NERA offense, defendants convicted of this crime must serve a minimum of 85% of their imposed prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. For assistance with your pending criminal charges in Hudson County, call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall.
Hudson County NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have a team of criminal trial attorneys with over 100 years of cumulative legal experience. We understand the intricacies involved with the Hudson County Superior Court and are familiar with the attorneys at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. If you or someone you love are facing arson charges, then our attorneys are available for consultation. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge. We can be reached 24/7 at (201) 309-1800.