Arson charges have to do with setting things on fire, but not all fires are arson. Certain fires, such as those for burning leaves or bonfires, aren’t considered arson.
Instead, arson has to do with intentionally trying to destroy property by setting it on fire. There don’t have to be any injuries in the fire for a person to face criminal charges. Some people do this with malicious intent to harm another person, but others do it in an attempt to collect insurance money.
What are the penalties for arson in Maryland?
The penalties for arson depend on what specific charge you face:
- First-degree arson: This involves setting fire to a structure with a person in it. This is a felony that can result in up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
- Second-degree arson: This charge is for setting fire to an unoccupied structure. It’s a felony that comes with up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Maryland also has some arson-related charges that are still serious. These include:
- First-degree malicious burning: It’s for damage greater than $1,000 and conviction comes with five years in prison. This felony also has a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second-degree malicious burning: This is for cases with damage less than $1,000. It’s a misdemeanor that can lead to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Setting fire to a trash can or dumpster that belongs to someone else: This is a 30-day misdemeanor that has a possible fine of up to $500.
Anyone facing arson charges should carefully review their defense options because this is a serious matter. Ideally, you’ll work with someone who can explain your options so you can make an informed decision about your defense strategy.