Under Title 6 of the Maryland Criminal Law, you will find the crimes of arson and burning. Arson and malicious burning of property are classified as serious offenses in Maryland and can result in significant jail time. Although arson and burning are difficult to prove, there are expert investigators and both the police departments and fire departments throughout Maryland that investigate and pursue arson charges against individuals.
In Maryland, there are various crimes one can be charged with if it’s alleged that they committed and arson or burning crime. Those crimes include:
Under Title 6 of the Criminal Laws in Maryland, there are various definitions that are used within the arson and burning violations. In Maryland, “maliciously” means acting with the intent to harm a person or property. In determining a “structure,” the Maryland law defines it as a building or other construction, vehicle or watercraft to include a barn, stable, pier, wharf, tent, public building, public bridge or railroad car. For a person to act “willfully” they must have the intention, acted knowingly and with the purpose to commit the arson or burning.
Arson in the first degree is classified as a felony in Maryland under Maryland Criminal Law 6-102 and prohibits a person from willfully and maliciously setting fire to a dwelling or structure in or on which another person who is not participating in the arson or burning his present. If an individual is found guilty of arson in the first degree under Maryland law they could face up to 30 years in jail and a fine of $50,000, or both.
Why arson in the second degree, Maryland Criminal Law 6-103, is less serious than first-degree arson it is still classified as a felony and could land an individual in jail for up to 20 years and a fine of $30,000, or both. If a person is charged with arson in the second degree the state must prove that they willfully and maliciously set fire to, or burned a structure that belongs to another person or to the individual that set the fire. Although there are various defenses under the Maryland laws, it is not a defense to arson in the second degree if the person owns the property that is burned or set on fire.
Malicious burning of personal property in the first degree must be charged if the value of the property that was set on fire or attempted to set on fire had a value of $1,000 or more. If convicted of malicious burning your personal property in the first degree the defendant is subject to a felony conviction and 5 years in jail as well as a $5,000 fine, or both. For a person to be convicted of malicious burning a personal property in the first degree they must be proven Beyond a reasonable doubt that they willfully and maliciously set fire to our burn the personal property of another.
Often times fires are set to hide evidence or other things that an individual wishes to conceal. If an individual sets fire to or Burns of property with the intent to defraud another then they can be charged with burning with the intent to defraud. If charged with this crime person is facing a misdemeanor and could spend five years in jail and pay a fine of $5,000. Burning with the intent to defraud in Maryland may also be charged alongside other arson counts. If convicted, a person may be sentenced to a consecutive or concurrent term of imprisonment along with the other violations of arson or burning in Maryland.
In Maryland, it’s not only a crime to set fire or burn a structure but it’s also a violation of the law to threaten another verbally or in writing that you are going to set fire to or burn a structure or explode a destructive device in a structure within Maryland. If a person is convicted of the threat of arson in Maryland they face a misdemeanor conviction and could spend up to 10 years in jail and pay a fine up to $10,000. The threat of arson is a defensible crime in Maryland because it is often a case of he said she said when it comes to the actual threat.
If an individual places or distributes of flammable, explosive or combustible material or device in or near structure or personal property in the preparation for burning that property they could be charged with attempt to burn structure of the property. The penalty for attempting to burn a structure or property will revert to the penalties listed under arson or malicious burning of personal property in the first or second degree.
The Maryland arson and burning laws are strict and stiff and are strongly enforced by the prosecutors throughout Maryland if you have been charged with arson or burning in Maryland and you need a defense attorney to represent you in court, contact criminal defense attorney Randolph Rice today to schedule a free consultation. It is in your best interest to hire a lawyer with experience in representing individuals that have been charged with arson and burning in the past. Attorney Randolph rice is a former prosecutor and has been defending individuals and businesses throughout Maryland since 2009.