What is the Law on Arson in North Carolina and What are the Punishments for It?
Fire can happen accidentally due to short circuit, gas leakage, or an accident. Fire is highly destructive and can cause damage and even destruction of property. Setting fire wilfully to cause damage or destruction is referred to as Arson. There are various aspects related to Arson that is defined in the laws. The laws related to Arson in the state of North Carolina is explained in this article.
Arson in North Carolina and the punishment
In the state of North Carolina, the North Carolina Statutes 14.58 defines Arson. In the state of North Carolina, the act of Arson is classified under two grades – first grade and second grade. This classification is done based on the severity of the crime.
Arson in the first degree in North Carolina is when the building that is burnt is a dwelling and was occupied at the time of the fire. Arson in the first degree is a Class D felony. The conviction would lead to imprisonment for a period of 28 to 160 months in prison.
Arson in the second degree is where the dwelling that was burnt was not occupied at the time of the fire. Since no one was present during the fire, it is a less serious offense and is categorized as a Class G felony. A conviction would lead to imprisonment for 8 to 31 months in prison.
Many other types of burning are defined in the North Carolina law.
Burning of a mobile home, manufactured house, or a recreational trailer wilfully and maliciously, when someone is present in it is considered as Arson of the first degree, and this would lead to 28 to 160 months in prison.
Burning, aiding in the burning, counseling or procuring the burning in a wantonly and wilful way of the State Capitol, Legislative building, Justice building, or any building owned by the state or its agencies is a Class F felony and punishable by 10 to 41 months in prison.
In the same way, burning of schoolhouses or educational institutions wilfully is also considered a Class F felony and conviction would lead to 10 to 41 months imprisonment.
Burning wantonly and wilfully public bridges, toll bridges, private bridges, fire engine house, rescue squad house, house of a building used for a business, an uninhabited house, stable, coach, warehouse, office, shop. Mill, granary, barn, or a building used for the trade would constitute a Class F felony and would lead to 10 to 41 months imprisonment.
Burning in the wanton and wilful way a building or structure that is being constructed and to be used as a place of dwelling or a building to carry out business, is considered a Class H felony. A conviction would lead to imprisonment for a period of 4 to 25 months in prison.
Burning of churches or any other religious buildings is a Class E felony and conviction would lead to 15 to 63 months in prison.
Burning of boats and barges, in houses or tobacco houses is a Class H felony. Burning of the house by an occupant, not being the owner shall also be a Class H felony. Burning of personal property is also a Class H felony. The law in North Carolina states that burning of any other building not defined in this law is a Class H felony. A conviction for any of these offenses would lead to 4 to 25 months imprisonment.
Arson that causes serious injury to a firefighter, medical technician, or law officer is a Class E felony leading to 15 to 63 months imprisonment.