Arson and aggravated arson are major crimes with serious consequences. Both arson and aggravated arson are felonies punishable by lengthy prison time and severe penalties.
Section 39-14-301 of Tennessee Code Annotated states that "arson" has occurred when a person commits an offense who knowingly damages any structure by means of a fire or explosion:
Arson is a Class C felony under Tennessee law, punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to 15 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
If the accused is charged with knowingly setting fire to a place of worship, he or she is facing stiffer penalties. A Class B felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 8 to thirty years and no more than a $25,000 fine.
To be classified as a "place of worship", the structure must be approved, or qualified to be approved, by the state board of equalization for property tax exemption pursuant to T.C.A. section 67-5-212 and must be utilized on a regular basis by a religious institution as the site of congregational services, rites, or activities communally undertaken for the purpose of worship.
A lesser offense is arson of personal property, land, or other property that is not a building or structure. If charged, you are facing a Class E felony, consisting of a prison term between one and six years and/or a $3,000 fine.
Reckless burning under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-304 is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. This offense carries less than a year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.
A person commits reckless burning in Tennessee who does any of the following acts:
A more serious charge of arson occurs under circumstances where someone is present in the building or structure, or when someone gets hurt. Under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-302, a person has committed "aggravated arson" when:
Aggravated arson is a Class A felony under state law, punishable by 15 to 60 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
Arson crimes are usually vigorously prosecuted, especially if they involve great bodily injury or death. Arson cases are also complex because, in addition to the prosecuting attorney, insurance companies and investigators are frequently involved. If you have been charged with arson, aggravated arson or reckless burning, it is very important that you retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you have a legal investigative team working to protect your interests by gathering facts and evidence that will turn the case to your advantage.
If you have been accused of arson or aggravated arson, please call Baker Associates as soon as possible so that our legal team can get to work to provide you with a solid defense. Call our Tennessee criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.
Complete the form below if you have been charged with arson. An attorney at our office will contact you soon.
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Johnson City Criminal Defense Attorney Disclaimer: The arson, aggravated arson, criminal defense, or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a lawyer at our law firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State.
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