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

The world is growing stranger every day and the so is the crime scene across it. Unfortunately, humans have grown new forms of aggression. The crime of arson involves willingly setting fire to someone’s property with the intent of destroying it. FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program reported more than 49,000 cases of arsons in 2010. During 2010-2014, reported arsons of around 29,000 leading to 440 civilian deaths, 1310 civilian injuries and property damage of more than $1 billion. 

Under the law of Michigan, there are five degrees of arson, depending on the purpose of burning the building, whether it was intentional or reckless, and if there were any persons in the building at the time of the fire. Depending on these factors, the punishment can be anywhere between 1 year to life imprisonment. The punishment also requires the convicted person to pay a certain amount to the victims.

Michigan Arson Law

First Degree Arson (
Section 750.72): Any crime is labeled under this statue when

  • The act of burning is intentional or willful
  • The property is a multiunit building with more than 1 unit dwelling
  • Any property that results in damage to even one person
  • The property is mine.
  • It is punishable by a fine of $20,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or life imprisonment or both. 
Second Degree Arson (Section 750.73): Any crime is labeled under this statue when
  • The act of burning is intentional or willful
  • The property is a dwelling place hence putting person(s) in the danger of injury or death.
  • It is punishable by a fine of $20,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or imprisonment up to 20 years or both.
Arson Law

Third Degree Arson (Section 750.74): Any crime is labeled under this statue when
  • The act of burning is intentional or willful
  • The property is a building.
  • It is a personal property of more than $20,000.
  • It is a personal property of more than $1,000 if the offender has a previous conviction
  • It is punishable by a fine of $20,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.
Fourth Degree Arson (Section 750.75): Any crime is labeled under this statue when
  • Willfully burning a personal property of more than $1,000.
  • Willfully burning a personal property of more than $200 if the offender has a previous conviction
  • Willfully or negligently burning or even setting fire to the ground of another person
  • Willfully or negligently allowing fire on their own ground to pass to someone else’s ground or property resulting in damage of their property
  • It is punishable by a fine of $10,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.
Arson Law Michigan

Fifth Degree Arson (Section 750.75): Any crime is labeled under this statue when
  • Willfully burning a personal property of more than $1000 or less if the offender has a previous conviction.
  • It is punishable by a fine of $2,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or imprisonment up to 1 year or both.
Other types of arson:

If the property is an insured place burnt with the purpose of defrauding the insurer, it is punishable with a fine of $20,000 or 3 times the cost of the damaged property whichever is greater or imprisonment of up to 15 years or both.

The specifics of any case are more complicated, and so is the evidence for showing the nature or purpose of fire, which does make arsons a sensitive case area. 


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