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What is the Law on Arson in Louisiana, and what are the Punishments for it?

Arson is mandated as a serious felony offense in the state of Louisiana. Various Revised Statutes of the Louisiana State as notified under Criminal Law deal with the criminal offense of Arson, identifying it as simple Arson or aggravated Arson and incorporating specific citations to cover an intent to defraud, the act of damaging a religious building, causing injury and using explosives. A simplified and brief go through for the relevant statutes is given below:

  1. Simple Arson: As per RS 14:52 of the revised statutes, simple Arson is:
    1. The offense of causing intentional damage owing to use of explosive substances or setting fire to any property of another without securing the consent of the owner of the said property unless the act qualifies as punishable under RS 14:51.
    2. The offense of causing an explosion &/or a fire while engaged in the commission or attempted commission of another felony irrespective of the intent of the offender to commit Arson.
Louisiana Arson Law

For any individual found guilty of Simple Arson, the convictions as notified by law are:

  1. For resulting damage of at least $500, Imprisonment of not more than 15 years with or without:
    1. Hard labor.
    2. Fine of at most $15,000.
  2. For resulting damage which is less than $500, Imprisonment of not more than five years with or without:
    1. Hard labor.
    2. Fine of at most $2,500.
  3. Simple Arson of a Religious Building: As per RS 14:52.1 of the revised statutes, simple Arson of a religious building is the offense of causing intentional damage owing to use of explosive substances or setting fire to a place of religious purpose, worship or gathering which include but are not limited to churches, synagogues, and mosques.

For any individual found guilty of the said offense, the conviction as notified by law is Imprisonment for 2 to 15 years with or without:

  1. Hard labor.
  2. Fine of at most $15,000.
  3. Aggravated Arson: As per RS 14:51 of the revised statutes, aggravated Arson is the offense of causing intentional damage owing to use of explosive substances or setting fire to any structure, watercraft or movable wherein danger to human life is foreseeable.
Arson Law

For any individual found guilty of the said offense, the conviction as notified by law is Imprisonment with hard labor for 6 to 20 years and a fine amounting to no more than $25,000.

Furthermore, 2 years of the hard labor imprisonment shall have no benefit of suspension of sentence, parole or probation.

  1. Injury by Arson: As per RS 14:51.1 of the revised statutes, injury by Arson is the offense of causing intentional damage owing to use of explosive substances or setting fire to any structure, watercraft or movable wherein:
    1. A person is subject to great bodily harm, disfigurement or permanent disability.
    2. Injury is caused to a first respondent to the offense including a person acting in the line of duty to avert damages or protect others, a firefighter, a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel.

For any individual found guilty of the said offense, the conviction as notified by law is Imprisonment with hard labor for 6 to 20 years and a fine amounting to no more than $25,000. Furthermore, two years of the hard labor imprisonment shall have no benefit of suspension of sentence, parole or probation.

Arson Law Louisiana

  1. Arson with an Intent to defraud: As per RS 14:53 of the revised statutes, Arson with an intent to defraud Arson is the offense of causing intentional damage owing to use of explosive substances or setting fire to any property with a plan to defraud. For any individual found guilty of the said offense, the conviction as notified by law is Imprisonment of not more than 5 years with or without:
  2. Hard labor.
  3. Fine of at most $10,000.

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