The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a woman was arrested on November 3rd, on suspicion of arson, after allegedly setting her ex-boyfriend’s pickup truck on fire. According to the news report, 911 operators received multiple calls at 1:22 a.m. of a house on fire. When firefighters responded to the call, the pickup truck was engulfed in flames and the fire had moved to a one-story wood frame/stucco home. The fire had moved into the attic.
It took firefighters about 45 minutes to get the fire under control. By the time the fire was put out, it had caused extensive damage to the structure. Two adult residents and three dogs were displaced from the home.
What is Arson?
In Nevada, arson is a property crime, specifically, willfully and maliciously setting fire to property. The willful and malicious intent is a required element. If you accidentally light something on fire, you cannot be charged with arson. Nevada law specified four degrees of arson:
- First-degree arson (NRS 205.010) – burning buildings or occupied vehicles.
- Second-degree arson (NRS 205.015) – burning abandoned structures.
- Third-degree (NRS 205.020)- burning unoccupied vehicles or vegetation.
- Fourth-degree arson (NRS 205.025) – attempting to set fire to a building, property, or anything else.
All degrees of arson are felony crimes. Along with prison and fines, if convicted of an arson charge, you may be charged with court costs, the costs of police and fire services responding to the fire, and costs of investigating and prosecuting your crime. Investigating an arson can be time-consuming and expensive, requiring many hours spent by elite and special law enforcement units.
Typical Arson Scenarios and Common Defenses to Arson
There are three typical arson scenarios: setting a fire for an insurance claim, setting a fire as a means of revenge, and setting fire as a means of protest. Arson may also be committed as a means of covering up another crime, such as murder. There are several common defenses to an arson charge:
- The fire was set accidentally
- The fire was a natural disaster
- Someone else set the fire.
Sometimes a crime of arson is part of a bigger plot to injure or kill someone. You can be charged with arson if you tried to ignite a structure and it was not flammable (this would be fourth-degree arson, a category D felony, punishable by one to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine). The court will look at intent and actions, not the plausibility of a crime being successful.
Get a Consultation for Arson Charges
The consequences and penalties of an arson crime are serious, and the charges must be taken equally seriously. If you are facing charges for arson in Nevada, contact LV Criminal Defense Law Firm at 702-623-6362. Your attorney can help you understand your options to fight charges, or get charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
We are available 24/7 to take your call and answer your questions. Contact us today.