What is Arson in the First Degree?
Arson in the First Degree occurs when any person “willfully and unlawfully, by fire or explosion, damages” ….
(1) Any dwelling, whether occupied or not; or
(2) Any structure, whether occupied or not, in which persons are normally present, including without limitation: jails, prisons or detention centers; hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities; department stores, office buildings, business establishments, churches or educational institutions, or other similar structures; or
(3) Any other structure which the actor has reasonable grounds to believe is occupied by a human being; or
(4) Any real or personal property, whether the property of the actor or another, with the intent to deceive or harm any insurer or any person with a legal or financial interest in the property, or obtain any financial gain for the actor or another.
Idaho Code § 18-802
What are the penalties for Arson in the First Degree?
The potential penalties are serious for a person convicted of Arson in the First Degree. They include a possible prison sentence of twenty-five (25) years and a maximum potential fine of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
What is Arson in the Second Degree and what are the potential penalties if convicted?
A charge for Arson in the Second Degree may result when a person “willfully and unlawfully, by fire or explosion, damages any structure, whether the property of the actor or another.” Idaho Code § 18-803. A person convicted of Arson in the Second Degree may be required to serve a prison term of up to fifteen (15) years, pay a fine of up to seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000), or do both.
What is Arson in the Third Degree and what are the potential penalties if convicted?
Arson in the Third Degree results from a person burning real or personal property or forest land. A person may be found guilty if he or she willfully and unlawfully, by fire or explosion, damages: (1) any real or personal property of another; or (2) any forest land.
Any person convicted of this crime may be sentenced to prison for a term of up to ten (10) years, fined any amount up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or end up with both a prison term and fine.
What is aggravated Arson and how does it impact the potential punishment?
A person who commits an arson that results directly or indirectly in great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death of a firefighter or any other person, regardless of intent or lack of intent to cause such harm, is subject to an extended term of imprisonment. The extended term of imprisonment is computed by adding up to ten (10) additional years in prison to the sentence imposed for the arson conviction.
What definitions are helpful to understanding Idaho’s arson laws and the information set forth above?
(1) “Damage”, in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any charring, scorching, burning or breaking, and shall include any diminution in the value of any property as a consequence of an act;
(2) “Dwelling” means any structure used or intended for use as human habitation;
(3) “Structure” means any building of any kind, including fixtures and appurtenances attached thereto, any coliseum, bridge or carport, any tent or other portable building, or any vehicle, vessel, watercraft or aircraft;
(4) “Real property” means any land, and shall include any crops growing thereon;
(5) “Personal property” means any tangible property, including anything severed from the land;
(6) “Forest land” means any brush covered land, cut-over land, forest, prairie, grasslands, wetlands or woods;
(7) “Firefighter” means any person assisting in the suppression or extinguishment of any fire or explosion.