Charged With An Arson Offense in Union County NJ
Arson is a serious offense in New Jersey because it always represents a felony crime that triggers the possibility of significant state prison time. The situation is even more severe if the charge involves aggravated arson or arson for hire. The discussion that follows is intended to provide you with basic information regarding all arson related offenses set forth under NJ Law. An attorney at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is available to discuss any of these charges in more detail and precisely how we would go about defending you. Our lawyers include former county and municipal prosecutors that make up a defense team with over 100 years of experience. Whether you were charged in Kenilworth, Fanwood, New Providence, Rahway or Linden, your case will be directed to the Union County Superior Court which is located in Elizabeth. The attorneys on our staff are highly adapt in navigating this court system as we have been appearing in Elizabeth on first degree, second degree, third degree and fourth degree crime cases for decades. Initial consultations with a defense lawyer at the firm are free. Call us in Union NJ for immediate assistance at 908-272-1700.
First Degree Arson For Hire
The most serious variety of this offense is referred to as arson for consideration. This is a first degree crime, the highest grade of violation set forth under the New Jersey Criminal Code. Arson for consideration/hire is set forth under subsection (d) of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1 and provides that:
d. Any person who, directly or indirectly, pays or accepts or offers to pay or accept any form of consideration including, but not limited to, money or any other pecuniary benefit, regardless of whether any consideration is actually exchanged for the purpose of starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of this section commits a crime of the first degree.
You will note from the language of this law that both the buyer and seller in an arson for hire is exposed to this first degree violation. In addition, the consideration does not have to be in the form of money and can include any benefit exchanged in return for setting a fire or causing an explosion. First degree arson carries 10-20 years in state prison and a fine of $200,000.
Second Degree Aggravated Arson
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1 (a), it is the second degree crime of aggravated arson to state a fire or cause an explosion under five (5) circumstances. In this regard, arson is elevated to aggravated arson where it is committed with the purpose to:
- Place another in danger of death or bodily injury;
- Destroy a building or structure owned by someone else;
- Collect insurance proceeds and recklessly places another in danger of death or bodily injury;
- Obtain an advantage in terms of a zoning or building code and recklessly places another in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- Destroy or damaging a forest.
The No Early Release Act (“NERA”) applies to aggravated arson. What this means is that an individual has to serve at least eighty five percent (85%) of his/her state prison sentence, which is between 5 and 10 years, before they may be considered for parole.
Arson Offense (a.k.a. Simple Arson)
Arson is a third degree crime and results from many of the same types of conduct as aggravated arson with the primary difference being that the actor’s conduct is reckless rather than intentional in this instance. When the conduct outlined in (1), (2) and (5) above is the result of recklessness, rather than purposeful, third degree arson applies. Where the accused engages in the conduct described in (3) and (4) above, a simple arson violation is triggered provided no one is placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Third degree arson results in penalties that include up to 5 years in state prison and a maximum fine that can reach $15,000.
Elizabeth NJ Arson Defense Attorneys
As with all felony indictable offense, an arson charge must has the potential to have significant negative ramifications. It is therefore pivotal that you retain an skilled lawyer if you are facing any variety of arson offense in Elizabeth. This is where your case will be heard despite having allegedly occurred in Berkeley Heights, Westfield, Union Township, Union Township or Springfield. Our lawyers are well acquainted with this venue, having actively defended cases their for over 20 years now. Our former prosecutors and skilled attorneys certainly know their way around this court and how to defend complex criminal cases like those involving arson. An attorney on our team can be reached now in our Union Office by calling 908-272-1700.