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What is the Law on Arson in Rhode Island and What are the Punishments for It?

Arson is the act of causing a fire deliberately. Fire is something that can happen, whether in a home, building, or a property. There can be many reasons for a fire ranging from a short circuit, gas leakage, or an accident. Fire is destructive and can cause serious damage and even bring down a property.

Setting fire deliberately to cause property destruction, is arson. There are various aspects related to arson that is defined in the laws. The laws related to Arson in the state of Rhode Island is explained in this article.

Arson in Rhode Island

In the state of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island General Laws Title 22 Criminal Offense, Chapter 11-4 deals with Arson and fires. In the state of Rhode Island, the act of arson is classified under different grades from first grade to seventh grade. This classification is done based on the severity of the crime.

Rhode Island Arson Law

First-degree arson in the state of Rhode Island is defined as an act done by a person knowingly by means of fire, an explosion risk of physical harm to a person or damage to a building or property of the person or another, which is occupied. If death were caused as a result, the punishment would be stringent. Even if a person sets fire to his own building, it would be first-degree arson if it exposes someone to risk.

Second-degree arson is where a person causes, aids, procures or counsels by fire or explosion knowingly damage or destruction of an unoccupied building, whether of that person to another.

Third-degree arson is where a person uses fire or explosion knowingly to cause damage or destruction to a property of the person or another to defraud an insurance company.

Fourth-degree arson is where a person uses fire or explosion knowingly to cause damage or destruction to a personal property valued more than $100 and any property of others.

Arson Law

Fifth-degree arson is where a person uses fire or explosion knowingly to cause damage or destruction to property as mentioned in the law related to first, second, and third-degree arson.

Sixth-degree arson is where a person uses fire knowingly to cause destruction of woodlands that spreads at large.

Seventh-degree arson is where a person makes a bonfire on public property without permission from a local body.

Punishment under the law

Arson of the first degree is a serious offense and conviction would lead to imprisonment for 5 years to life imprisonment or a fine of $3000 to $25,000 or both. If a death happens as a result of arson, the minimum imprisonment would be 20 years.

Second-degree arson is punishable by imprisonment of two to twenty years or fine of up to $2,500 or both.

Third-degree arson is punishable by imprisonment of two to twenty years or fine of up to $5000 or both. If death results due to the act, imprisonment would be for a minimum of 20 years.

Arson Law Rhode Island

Fourth-degree arson is punishable by imprisonment of one to three years or fine of up to $1000 or both.

Fifth-degree arson is punishable by imprisonment of one to twenty years or fine of up to $1000 or both.

Sixth-degree arson is punishable by imprisonment of not more than two years or fine of up to $1000 or both.

Seventh-degree arson is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Anyone tampering with a public fire alarm wilfully shall be punished by imprisonment of up to 5 years, or a fine of $1000-$5000, or both.


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