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Robbinsville NJ Arson Defense Attorneys
Whether the fire was intentional or it was a prank gone wrong, the fact of the matter is that the charges are serious and require the assistance of an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney. Arson, which is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1, is a third degree indictable offense in New Jersey. If convicted, the penalties can be life changing. In addition, most individuals charged with arson in Mercer County, also find themselves being charged with burglary, trespassing, aggravated assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. If you have been charged with any of the aforementioned offenses or any other criminal offense for that matter in Mercer County, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our office has been defending clients accused of crimes in courts throughout Mercer County, including the Mercer County Superior Court, the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Lawrence Municipal Court, the Princeton Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court, the Trenton Municipal Court and the Robbinsville Municipal Court. If you would like to sit down with one of our attorneys and go over the facts of your case, then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. We fully understand the pressure and stress that comes along with being charged with a criminal offense, so if there is anything we can do to help, please feel free to contact our office. Now here is some information on the offense of arson, including what the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
Arson Charges in Trenton NJ
Charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1?
What started out as a prank can easily cost someone their freedom. The legislature decided to break the offense of arson down into two different sections; aggravated arson and arson. The main difference between the two is what the Defendant’s underlying intent was at the time of starting the fire. The offense of arson deals more with a situation when a Defendant purposely sets fire to something and recklessly puts someone else at risk as a result. As opposed to the offense of aggravated arson when it is the Defendant’s underlying intent to purposely harm someone or something. For more information on the offense of aggravated arson, please click the link.
In order to be convicted of arson in New Jersey, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- That the Defendant purposely started a fire on his property or the property of another; &
- In doing so, the Defendant:
- Recklessly placed another in danger of death or bodily injury;
- Recklessly placed a building of another in danger of damage or destruction;
- Recklessly placed a forest in danger of damage or destruction; or
- Did so in order to collect insurance proceeds;
Will I be Afforded Bail if I am Charged with Arson?
As of 2017, New Jersey has completely changed their bail system. A system that was once built solely on an individual’s ability to post money has been completely changed and is now based on a risk assessment basis. A Defendant charged with arson in Mercer County may be held in the Mercer County Jail without bail, pending a detention hearing if the prosecution sees fit. During the detention hearing, the prosecution will be attempting to convince the Judge that the Defendant needs to be held in the Mercer County Jail, without bail, pending trial. The Judge in making their determination will be evaluating the age of the Defendant at the time of the alleged offense, whether the offense was of a violent nature, the past convictions and/or failures to appear in court, and other pending charges. So, as you can imagine, the underlying facts surrounding the arson charges will play a major role in determining if a Defendant will be held without bail or released on certain pretrial conditions. Regardless, detention hearings have made it more important now than ever to make sure that you have an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney involved as soon as possible.
What are the Penalties for Arson in NJ?
As mentioned above, the offense of arson is a third degree felony in New Jersey. A third degree felony is punishable from anywhere from three to five years in a State Prison, a fine up to $15,000, a felony criminal record and restitution if applicable. Since this is a third degree felony in New Jersey, if the Defendant does not have any prior record, they will be given the presumption against imprisonment. However, that presumption can be overcome by the prosecution and it only applies to State Prison and not any potential county jail sentence.
Also, a Defendant accused of arson may be eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). PTI is a diversionary program in New Jersey whereby if accepted, a Defendant will be diverted from the traditional methods of prosecution and be placed on a probationary period. That period can be anywhere from six (6) months up to three (3) years. If the Defendant successfully completes the probationary period without violating any of the terms then the underlying charges will be outright dismissed.
Arson Lawyers in Ewing, New Jersey
Being charged with a criminal offense like arson can be nerve wracking. However, hiring the right attorney can go a long way to calming those nerves. If you have been charged with arson, eluding, terroristic threats, stalking, trespassing or criminal mischief in Mercer County and would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your options then please contact us at (609) 789- 0779. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like Hopewell, Pennington, Lawrence, Princeton, West Windsor, Trenton and Robbinsville.