Arson is the intentional, willful, and malicious burning of a structure. The act of burning is to set fire or cause to set fire. The severity of punishment depends on what type of structure that is burned.
1. Dwelling House– up to 20 years in prison.
2. Real Property (including buildings)– up to 10 years in prison
3. Personal Property
a. Less than $200– up to 93 days in jail, $500 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater
b. $200-1,000 (or one or more prior conviction)– up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater
c. $1,000-20,000 (or one or more prior conviction)– up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater
d. $20,000 or greater (or one or more prior conviction)– up to 10 years in prison, $15,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater
4. Insured Property– if fire is set to insured property with the intent to defraud the insurer, the offender faces up to 10 years in prison.
Enhanced Sentences for Prior Convictions– The prosecutor can seek an enhanced sentence by giving proper notice of the intent to use prior arson convictions.
It is not a defense if it is your own property. It is a defense if the fire was set accidentally or negligently since the statute requires intentional, willful, and malicious conduct. However, you can still be held liable civilly for any damages that your negligent actions cause.
If you have been charged with arson, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (5170 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan arson criminal defense lawyer.
Representing clients on charges of arson and malicious destruction of property throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Barry, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Gratiot, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent, Calhoun in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, Okemos, Eaton Rapids, Hastings, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Alma, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek.