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What is the Law on Arson in Connecticut and What are the Punishments for it?

Arson is a crime against property carrying imminent threats to the life and security of other human beings. Sometimes a result of criminal mischief of thrill seekers, sometimes a result of reckless behavior and sometimes a result of malicious intent, whatever the motivation and arson have been a preferred means to damage and destroy many properties.

In the State of Connecticut, laws for arson are codified in Chapter 952 of the Connecticut General Statutes identifying Arson in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees as well as a separate Statute for murder by arson, wherein it is clearly implied that even involuntary manslaughter is presumed as murder. The definitions of terms mentioned in the relevant sections of the aforesaid chapter are stipulated in section 53a-100. Some of these terms being:

  • Building: Besides the ordinary meaning, a building also includes any building or vehicle having a valid certificate of occupancy, trailer, sleeping car, watercraft, aircraft or a railroad car. In the case of a building structure which comprises of separate units, such as, but not limited to any unit not occupied by the offender, including distinguishable apartments, offices or rented rooms, each such unit is deemed to be a separated building.
Connecticut Arson Law
  • Person: Besides representing a human being, wherever deemed appropriate, it also represents an organization i.e. a government or a governmental instrumentality, public or private corporation, an unincorporated association, a limited liability company or a partnership.

Furthermore, the crimes representative of the various kinds of arson recognized by Connecticut are stipulated as:

  • Arson in the first degree: Drafted in Connecticut General Statutes 53a-111, Arson in the 1st degree is a Class A felony wherein:
    • The offender has the intent to destroy or damage a building by starting a fire or causing an explosion.
    • The building has occupants or the offender has sufficient knowledge and/or reason to conclude that the building is inhabited at the opportune moment of committing the offense
    • The offense causes injury to another person, either directly or indirectly or it is found to be a means to damage property and collect the prescribed insurance proceeds or the offense subjects a firefighter or peace officer to a significant risk of bodily injury.
Arson Law

The said offense, is a Class A felony, is prescribed a prison sentence of 10 to 25 years and a fine of up to $20,000.

  • Arson in the second degree: Drafted in Connecticut General Statutes 53a-112, Arson in the 2nd degree is a Class B felony wherein:
    • The offender has the intent to destroy or damage a building by starting a fire or causing an explosion.
    • The offense poses a significant risk of bodily injury to another person.
    • The offense was enacted to conceal the evidence of the commission of some other criminal act.
    • The offense was committed to depriving another person of a right, privilege or immunity secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of this state or of the United States, or the offense was committed by someone hired by the offender for the same purpose.

The said offense, is a Class B felony, is prescribed a prison sentence is 1 to 20 years and a fine of up to $15,000.

Arson Law Connecticut

  • Arson in the third degree: Drafted in Connecticut General Statutes 53a-113, Arson in the 3rd degree is a Class C felony wherein:
    • The offender recklessly causes destruction or damage to a building of his/her own or of another.
    • The offense equates to intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.

The said offense, is a Class B felony, is prescribed a prison sentence is of 1 to 10 years with a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Arson murder: Drafted under Connecticut General Statutes 53a-54d an Arson murder is a Class A felony wherein:
    • The offense of arson causes the death of a person.
    • The offender, if over eighteen years of age at the time of the offense, is punished by life imprisonment without parole.
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