3 Ways an Arson Conviction Can Tarnish Your Record

Georgia law defines arson as the willful and malicious burning or charring of property. Because not all courts treat arson cases the same, your first step should be a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help determine the best way to proceed with your case. For example, knowingly setting fire to a building or vehicle (first-degree arson) is considered a much more serious crime than setting fire to an individual’s personal property (third-degree arson). In addition, penalties may become more severe if the fire was intended to injure others.

An arson conviction may result in serious consequences that impact a person’s livelihood and reputation. Here are four of the most severe penalties that stem from an arson conviction:

Felon status

The State of Georgia prosecutes all arson crimes as felonies. A felony conviction may limit an individual’s ability to pursue higher education, find employment, obtain a mortgage or automobile loan, and rent a home, among other things.

Jail Time

An individual who commits arson typically faces significant prison time, depending on the severity of the charge. In Georgia, first-degree arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison for each offense, second-degree may result in 10 years in prison per offense, and third-degree can include no more than five years in prison.

Restitution and Fines

All types of arson crimes are punishable in Georgia by hefty fines. Defendants convicted of first-degree can face fines of up to $50,000, while those charged with second and third-degree arson may be subject to fines up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. Lastly, a judge may require an individual make repayment of any damages inflicted by the crime.

With a charge as serious as arson, it is critical that you seek strong representation immediately. Often the key to a successful arson defense is hiring the right expert early in the case.

At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.