What is the Law on Arson in Indiana and what are the Punishments for it?
Previously, arson was regarded as a crime, which prohibited burning the nearby property, dwelling, or home of someone else. The purpose of laws pertaining to arson was protecting the property of people from being burned down while they were inside it.
However, today, there has been an expansion in the arson laws as opposed to the traditional definition as it also constitutes burning of any kind of property. As such, the laws do not need that the affected property has to be home as it can be also a place, structure, building, or home inside which people are living.
A person can commit an act of arson by burning land, buildings, or someone's personal property. All states in America have arson laws although there are some distinctions between the way these states classify or punish the crime.
A person commits an act of arson when they intentionally set fires or explosives in wildlife areas, buildings, or other structures leading to the property being damaged. While the original intention is typically to damage property, there is a high potential of causing personal injury in the process. As such, arson is considered as a severe and dangerous crime, which is accordingly punished.
While Indiana does not classify arson into different degrees, it does specify distinct levels of a felony for arson offenses. For instance, Level 2 is regarded as the highest arson level and is punishable by the maximum penalties. On the other hand, Level 6 is the least severe offense and also has the least serious penalties. The offense is regarded as a "wobbler" crime that means the offense can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
According to the arson laws of Indiana, a person commits a separate crime for every person who succumbs to a severe bodily injury or a bodily injury caused by violating the state's laws.
Arson laws in Indiana
The statutory analysis of an attorney is preferable particularly when it pertains to complex cases and criminal law. As such, the following section is dedicated to explaining the arson laws in the state of Indiana.
- An act of arson is a Level 4 felony when
A person intentionally or knowingly causes damage using a destructive device, explosive, or fire;
- A dwelling of some other individual without the consent of the other person;
- A person's property under circumstances, which can cause danger to human life;
Another person's property without the consent of the other person in case loss is a minimum of 5,000 USD; or
- Any structure used for worshipping without procuring the consent of the structure's owner
Level 4 felony-arson for hire
It is Level 3 when the act leads to another person being bodily injured.
It is Level 2 when there is a severe bodily injury to some other person.
It is also Level 3 when any other person apart from the defendant suffers from bodily injury.
It is Level 2 when there is a severe bodily injury to a person apart from the defendant.
Arson with the intention to defraud
When an act of arson damages the property of some other person, having the intention to defraud, the state's law regards it as Level 6 felony. An act of arson that damages the property of someone else without the latter's consent leading to a financial loss of a minimum of 250 USD and is less than 5,000 USD is regarded as a felony of Level 6.
Penalties for Arson in Indiana
The penalties will be based on certain circumstances under which the act occurred, as well as, factors like the criminal history of the defendant.
- Level 6 arson can be penalized as a felony or misdemeanor
- Level 4 arson can be penalized by a prison term of 2 to 12 years and a maximum fine of 10,000 USD
- Level 3 arson can be penalized by a prison term of 3 to 16 years and a maximum fine of 10,000 USD
- Level 2 arson can be penalized by a prison term of 10 to 30 years and a maximum fine of 10,000 USD
- The sentence for felony: A maximum imprisonment term of 2.5 years and a maximum fine of 10,000 USD
- The sentence for misdemeanor: Can be penalized for at least 6 months behind the bars