Second-degree arson is when a person willfully and maliciously either sets fire to or burns a structure belonging to himself or herself or to another person. See Md. Code Criminal Law Ann. 6-103.
What Does it Mean to Set Fire to a Structure?
“Fire,” for the purpose of second-degree arson, means the actual burning or charring of a structure. There is no requirement that the structure be completely destroyed or burned to the ground. Instead, the slightest burning or charring of the structure makes the offense of second-degree arson complete if the State proves that the burning was willful and malicious beyond a reasonable doubt. A person acts “willfully” if he or she acted with deliberate intention, knowledge and purpose. A person acts maliciously if he or she acted with the deliberate intention of harming his or her own property or another person’s property.
What is a Structure?
A “structure,” for the purpose of second-degree arson, is a building or other construction, a vehicle, or a watercraft. Examples of a structure include, but are not limited to, a barn, stable, pier, wharf, tent, public building or public bridge, railroad car, or any facility attached to a pier or wharf. It should be noted that ownership of the structure is irrelevant. Therefore, a person can potentially be charged with second-degree arson if he or she burns a structure that he or she owns.
What is the Maximum Penalty for Second-Degree Arson?
Second-degree arson is a serious property crime because it is a felony offense that carries a maximum possible penalty if found guilty and convicted of up to 20 years of active incarceration and/or up to a $30,000 fine.
Baltimore County, MD Second-Degree Arson Attorney
Being accused of second-degree arson is a criminal matter that should be taken seriously because of the potential consequences if found guilty and convicted. Contact our office today if you have been charged with second-degree arson for a free consultation at our Towson, MD office with an experienced Baltimore County, MD criminal defense attorney. During your free consultation at our Towson, MD office, our principal attorney will discuss the facts of your case with you, explore possible defenses to the charge, and advise you of ways to avoid a conviction altogether or minimize the possible consequences of a conviction if found guilty of this criminal offense.