Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Analysis of Arson After Georgia Teenage Lights a Fire in Local Walmart

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 01, 2018 | 0 Comments

According to recent reports, a 13-year-old boy has admitted to starting a fire inside a metro Atlanta Walmart this past weekend. Sometime in the afternoon, the boy allegedly started a fire with a lighter and cotton balls in one of the aisles of the store. 

When a child under the age of 17 is accused and charged with committing an offense that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult, Georgia Juvenile Laws apply. This means that the child's case will most likely be handled and settled by the county's Juvenile Court. 

Although, the boy's case will be probably be handled in by Georgia Juvenile Court, however, let's look to the law on arson in Georgia. 

Georgia law breaks down arson into three separate degrees. However, all degrees of arson are considered felonies in the state of Georgia. It's important to understand the differences because different Georgia Criminal Defenses will apply. I've separated the three separate degrees below. 

First Degree Arson in Georgia

According to Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. §16-7-60, first degree arson in Georgia is defined as:

A person will be guilty of arson in the first degree when by means of fire or explosive, whether or not in the commission of a felony, he or she knowingly damages or knowingly causes, aids, abets, advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to damage any dwelling house of another or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, or other structure of another…

  • Without his or her consent or in which another has a security interest, including but not limited to a mortgage, a lien, or a conveyance to secure debt, without the consent of both, whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant;
  • Without his or her consent or in which another has a security interest, including but not limited to a mortgage, a lien, or a conveyance to secure debt, without the consent of both, if such structure is designed for use as a dwelling, whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant;
  • Whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant and when such is insured against loss or damage by fire or explosive and such loss or damage is accomplished without the consent of both the insurer and the insured;
  • Whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant with the intent to defeat, prejudice, or defraud the rights of a spouse or co-owner; or
  • Under such circumstances that is reasonably foreseeable that human life might be endangered.

If you are convicted of first-degree arson, you may receive a prison sentence of one to twenty years, a fine up to $50,000, or both.

Second Degree Arson in Georgia

According to Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. §16-7-61, second degree arson in Georgia is defined as:

A person will be guilty of arson in the second degree when by means of fire or explosive, whether or not in the commission of a felony, he or she knowingly damages or knowingly causes, aids, abets, advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to damage…

  • any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure of another without his or her consent or in which another has a security interest, including but not limited to a mortgage, lien, or a conveyance to secure debt, without the consent of both.

If you are convicted of second-degree arson in Georgia, you may receive a prison sentence of one to ten years, a fine up to $25,000, or both. 

Third Degree Arson in Georgia

According to Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. §16-7-62, third degree arson in Georgia is defined as:

A person will be guilty of arson in the third degree when by means of fire or explosive, whether or not in the commission of a felony, he or she knowingly damages or knowingly causes, aids, abets, advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to damage any personal property:

  • Of another without his or her counsel or in which another has a security interest, including but not limited to a lien, without the consent of both and the value of the property is $25.00 or more;
  • When such is insured against loss or damage by fire or explosive and the loss or damage is accomplished without the consent of both the insurer and insured and the value of the property is $25.00 or more; or
  • With the intent to defeat, prejudice, or defraud the rights of a spouse or co-owner and the value of the property is $25.00 or more.

If you are convicted of third-degree arson in Georgia, you may receive a prison sentence of one to five years, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

If you or a loved one have been charged with arson in Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard Lawson has devoted his entire career to DUI Defense. He exclusively handles DUI Cases. As a former DUI Prosecutor he knows both sides of your case. Put his experience to work for you. You only have 30 days to protect your right to drive. Call now for immediate attention. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

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