What constitutes the crime of arson in Maryland?

| Nov 25, 2020 | Violent crimes

It is important to respect the dangers fires present. A home fire or a fire at a place of business can be terrifying and can easily engulf and destroy a structure. Most fires are accidental, but there are times that police in Upper Marlboro will accuse a person of arson.

Arson crimes in Maryland

Maryland recognizes three types of arson crimes. First, there is first-degree arson. This takes place when a person willfully and with malice sets fire to a dwelling or structure and there is an individual unrelated to the arson crime present. Second, there is second-degree arson. This takes place when a person willfully and with malice sets fire to a structure that they do or do not own.

Third, there is malicious burning. This takes place when a person willfully and with malice sets fire to another individual’s property. First-degree malicious burning takes place when the damage to the property is more than $1,000. Second-degree malicious burning takes place when the damage to the property is under $1,000.

Penalties to arson crimes in Maryland

Arson is a serious crime in Maryland and will be penalized accordingly. First-degree arson is a felony, and a conviction will result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years and/or a $50,000 fine. Second-degree arson is also a felony, and a conviction will result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and/or a $30,000 fine.

First-degree malicious burning is a felony, and a conviction will result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a $5,000 fine. Second-degree malicious burning is a misdemeanor, and a conviction will result in a jail sentence of up to 18 months and/or a $500 fine. In addition, those convicted of arson often have to pay restitution covering the damage to the dwelling, structure or property as well as costs related to fighting the fire.

Seek assistance if you are accused of arson

As this shows, arson is a serious crime in Maryland. Those accused of arson may believe they did not commit the crime because the fire was accidental, or perhaps they were not the culprit. This post does not contain legal advice and should not form the basis of any defense strategy against arson charges. If you are accused of arson in Upper Marlboro, it is important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney before moving forward.