Have You Been Charged with Burning of Woodlands, Brush, or Fields in Georgia?
Fires started outside of natural causes must be done so very carefully and according to Georgia law. It is illegal to burn another person's property or intentionally damage woods that do not belong to the person. Engaging in activities relating to the use of fires and ignited objects can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. However, it is critical to remember that a charge is not the same as a conviction! There are always Georgia Criminal Defenses that can be used to defend your case. Our team of Georgia Burning Woodlands Lawyers has over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience. Call now and see how we will make the difference in your case.
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. § 16-7-63 reads as follows:
It shall be unlawful:
(1) To, with intent to damage, start, cause, or procure another to start or cause a fire in any woodlands, brush, field, or other lands that are not one's own and without the permission of the owner or the lessee having control of such property;
(2) To burn any brush, field, forest land, campfire, or debris, whether on one's own land or the lands of another, without taking the necessary precautions before, during, and after the fire to prevent the escape of such fire onto the lands of another. The escape of such fire shall be prima-facie evidence that necessary precautions were not taken;
(3) For any person to cause a fire by discarding any lighted cigarette, cigar, debris, or any other flaming or smoldering material that may cause a forest fire; or
(4) To destroy or damage any material or device used in the detection or suppression of wildfires.
The Penalty for Burning of Woodlands in Georgia
A person who violates subsection (2),(3), or (4) will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor convictions in Georgia carry a maximum of one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
However, a person who violates subsection (1) will be guilty of a felony, but the punishment varies depending on if the person committed first, second, or third-degree arson.
A person will be guilty of first-degree arson when they violate subsection (1) under such circumstances that it was reasonably foreseeable that human life might be endangered. First-degree arson comes with a maximum fine of $50,000, a prison term between one and twenty years, or both.
When a person violates subsection (1), and it results in a fire that burns more than five acres of someone else's land, that person will be guilty of arson in the second-degree. The penalty for arson in the second degree is a maximum fine of $25,000, a prison term between one and ten years, or both.
A person will be guilty of third-degree arson if they violate subsection (1). It will be a felony conviction punished by a maximum fine of $10,000, or by a prison term between one and five years, or both.
In addition to the substantial fines and lengthy prison terms, having a felony on your criminal history can make day-to-day life difficult. Felony convictions can make it difficult to find housing, obtain employment, and even acquire credit.
Due to the seriousness of the penalties, it is critical to hire a Georgia Burning of Woodlands Attorney. We know the ins and outs of the law and will work tirelessly to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.
Defenses to Burning of Woodlands in Georgia
There are always arguments your Georgia Burning Woodlands Lawyer can use to defend your case. One argument is that the fire resulted from the operation of machinery or equipment that was used in its usual manner. No crime will be committed if this applies to your case.
In addition, a lack of intent to damage or start a fire would be greatly beneficial. The evidence could help achieve a reduced charge of second or third-degree arson instead of first degree.
Another argument is that it was not reasonably foreseeable that human life would be endangered. Evidence demonstrating this would be advantageous in getting the charged reduced from first-degree arson to second or third. This could save you thousands of dollars and years spent in prison.
The best way to achieve a favorable outcome in your case is to contact our burning of woodlands lawyers in Georgia from the very beginning. We know numerous prosecutors and judges in Georgia and know how to negotiate a reduced charge in your case. The difference in first-degree arson and third is significant as well as felony versus misdemeanor burning of woodlands. We do not want you to think there are no options. There are always options in your case, and we will explore every one of them. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer all of your questions. Call now for a free case evaluation.