Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Georgia Deputy’s House Set on Fire for the Second Time This Week

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

A description of a man has been released who is believed to have started a fire to a house in Jones County. The house belongs to a Jones County Deputy and a Jasper County Investigator. 

According to reports, this is the second times this week that the couple's home has been set on fire. A by-passer saw the fire from the road and immediately when up to their front door and pounded on it until the couple woke up. Thankfully, no one was injured, and the fire was extinguished. 

Apparently, the person of interested was photographed in a nearby Walmart. The description has been let out by the Jones County Sheriff's Office.

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the differences in the three degrees of arson and outline some of the defenses that may apply with a wrongful accusation.

1st Degree Arson in Georgia

Georgia Law defines first degree arson in Georgia 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 endangeredO.C.G.A. §16-7-60.

If convicted of first-degree arson, the offense is classified as a felony. The penalty can include a prison sentence of one to twenty years, a fine up to $50,000, or both.

2nd Degree Arson in Georgia

The difference between first and second degree arson in Georgia is that the offense is directed towards:

…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. O.C.G.A. §16-7-61.

If convicted of second-degree arson in Georgia, the offense is classified as a felony. The penalty can include a prison sentence of one to ten years, a fine up to $25,000, or both. 

Third Degree Arson in Georgia

The difference between second degree arson and third degree arson in Georgia is that the property is valued less. The statute states that the offense is the same but:

  • 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. O.C.G.A. §16-7-62.

If convicted of third-degree arson in Georgia, the offense is still a felony. However, the penalty can include a prison sentence of one to five years, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

Practice Note

Everyone has the presumption of innocence, and unfortunately, wrongful accusations happen more often than we would like to admit. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I am very familiar with how often individuals get charged incorrectly. 

There are Georgia Criminal Defenses apply to wrongful accusations of arson in Georgia. Some of these defenses include:

  • Consent for burning
  • Accidental burning 
  • Burning not caused by fire or explosive 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a property crime in Georgia, contact our offices 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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