Persistent Arson Lawyer Representing Upstate Criminal Defense Clients
In South Carolina, arson is considered an offense against property and is defined as a willful act committed for the purpose of causing injury or damage. Arson charges are taken very seriously in our state and are not to be treated carelessly. Attorney Richard Warder has represented countless clients accused of committing arson and can help you as well.
Classes of Arson
Arson cases are divided into three categories; first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. First-degree charges are the most serious, and third-degree charges are the least.
A first-degree arsonist is defined as a person who willfully and maliciously sets fire to or causes an explosion within a building which causes grave damage to the property and may or may not result in the serious injury or death to a person inside. First-degree arson is punishable by no less than 30 years in prison.
Second-degree arson cases are characterized by willfully and maliciously setting fire to or causing an explosion inside of a residential dwelling or other structure intended for business or other human occupancy resulting in significant property damage. These crimes are punishable by no less than three years and no more than 25 years in jail.
Third-degree arson consists of willfully and maliciously setting fire to a car, boat, other vehicles, or personal property to cause damage. Third-degree arsonists may be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail.
Can I Be Charged with Arson if the Fire is an Accident?
No. Accidental fires, even ones that cause great property damage, injury, or death, are not considered acts of arson. You may face charges for personal injury or wrongful death, among others, but will not be tried for arson if it is clear the fire was not set intentionally.