Arson, the act of intentionally setting fire to buildings, wild areas, vehicles or other property, is a serious crime. If you or someone you know faces accusations of arson, you need to understand the potential repercussions.
Kentucky takes arson offenses very seriously and the penalties can be severe, impacting one’s future significantly.
The degrees of arson
In Kentucky, arson charges come in different degrees, with each carrying its own set of penalties based on the severity of the act and its consequences.
- First-degree arson. First-degree arson occurs when a person intentionally damages a building by starting a fire or causing an explosion and this act endangers human life or another person is present in the building. A conviction for first-degree arson can lead to a long prison sentence. Kentucky classifies it as a Class A felony, which means you could face 20 to 50 years in prison.
- Second-degree arson. This involves intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion that damages a building, but without necessarily endangering human life. Second-degree arson is a Class B felony in Kentucky and a conviction can lead to between 10 and 20 years in prison.
- Third-degree arson. Third-degree arson happens when a person intentionally sets fire to a building of his own. This is a Class D felony and you can face between one and five years of imprisonment.
If someone burns their own property in order to get money from an insurance company, that is a Class D felony.
Other associated penalties
A conviction of arson in Kentucky may also result in hefty fines. These fines aim to compensate for the damage caused and act as a further deterrent. Moreover, you will have a felony record, which can affect many aspects of your life, such as employment opportunities, housing applications and even voting rights.
If faced with arson charges, you should know that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally set the fire. They must establish intent, the act and the resulting damage. Without concrete evidence, these elements can be challenging to prove.