Ohio Arson Laws (ORC 2909.03)
If you have been charged with a property crime involving the use of fire or explosives, you’re facing prosecution under O.R.C. 2909.03. This statute covers a number of scenarios with different levels of punishment. The most important thing to know, besides the seriousness of your charge, is that you have the right to an attorney.
At Patituce & Associates, our Cleveland arson defense lawyers have more than 70 years of combined legal experience, including more than 200 jury trials. Led by former prosecutors, we know how both sides of the courtroom work. You can trust in us to protect your rights in the face of arson charges in the Cleveland area of Ohio.
To discuss your case with our Cleveland arson lawyers, call (440) 471-7784now.
What Is Arson?
In the state of Ohio, Arson is defined as starting a fire or creating an explosion that:
- Physical harms or creates a substantial risk of harming a person’s property, without his or her consent.
- Physically harms or creates a substantial risk of harming a person’s property with the intent of defrauding.
- Physical harm or threats create the risk of harming any government-owned building structure that is used for public purposes.
- Physically harms a person’s property through the offer or the acceptance of an agreement for hire or other consideration, without the individual’s consent, or for the purpose of defrauding.
- Physically harms or creates a substantial risk of harming any park, preserve, wildlands, brush-covered land, cut-over land, forest, timberland, Greenlands, woods, or similar real property, without consent or with the purpose of defrauding.
It is necessary for the state prosecutor to prove your actions as well as your intent. For more information about arson laws in Ohio, contact us today. Our team will be happy to assist you and help answer any questions that you may have.
Cleveland Arson Charges & Penalties
Ohio’s arson code covers a variety of circumstances, each with varying degrees of legal penalties. For instance, causing or creating a substantial risk of physical harm to property without the owner’s consent is a first-degree misdemeanor and may lead to 6 months in jail. Where the value of the property is more than $100,000, the charge becomes a fourth-degree felony, with the potential for up to 18 months in prison. The same sentencing applies when the risk of harm is directed at a courthouse, public building, forest, park, or public greenway.
In the state of Ohio, aggravated arson has to do with physically harming or threatening to cause or create substantial physical harm to another person by starting a fire. Burning an occupied building is an example and would be classified as a second-degree felony. Paying an individual to start the fire with the intent to harm is also considered aggravated arson. Aggravated arson charges are extremely serious in Ohio, and prosecutors take every step possible to win a conviction.
Ohio prosecutors can charge aggravated arson at two levels:
- Second-degree felony – Punishable by up to 8 years in prison
- First-degree felony – Punishable by up to 11 years in prison
A second-degree felony is a best-case scenario for aggravated arson charges. You may face second-degree felony charges if an occupied structure was damaged. If your alleged conduct created a substantial risk of serious physical harm to others, or you offered/accepted money to create that risk, you may face first-degree felony charges.
Challenging Arson Charges in Cleveland
In our experience, there is a potential defense to any criminal offense, including arson. Reach out to a Cleveland criminal defense lawyer.
Depending on your case, we may be able to argue the following in the face of arson charges:
- It was an accident
- You were mistakenly identified
- You received consent
- Your rights were violated in some way
Call Patituce & Associates now at(440) 471-7784 to schedule your first consultation with one of our Cleveland arson defense lawyers. We are here to help you.
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Patituce & Associates,LCC – Cleveland Office
600 Superior Avenue East,
Cleveland, OH 44114