Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Suspect Accused of Arson in Georgia in Coffee Shop Fire

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

It has been just two weeks since the popular coffee shop in Downtown Decatur, Java Monkey, experienced severe fire damage. Police have identified a possible suspect who allegedly set the fire that damaged the shop as well as two neighboring restaurants, Fresh to Order and Noodle. 

The suspect has been identified as Rickey Thomas. However, reports indicate that both the origin and cause of the fire are very much still being investigated…

Arson in Georgia

Arson is divided into three separate degrees in Georgia. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the three different degrees of arson in today's post. 

The Georgia Code defines first-degree arson in Georgia as:

A person will be guilty of arson in the first degree when, by means of fire or explosion, 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 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;
  • 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, if such structure is designed for use as a dwelling, whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant;
  • Any dwelling house, building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure 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;
  • Any dwelling house, building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure whether it is occupied, unoccupied, or vacant with the intent to defeat, prejudice, or defraud the rights of a spouse or co-owner; or
  • Any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure under such circumstances that is reasonably foreseeable that human life might be endangered. O.C.G.A. §16-7-60.

The penalty if convicted of first-degree arson can include a fine of no more than $50,000 or by a prison term between one and twenty years, or both.

The Georgia Code defines second-degree arson in Georgia as:

A person commits the offense of arson in the second degree as to any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure, when, in the commission of a felony or not, by means of fire or explosive, 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. O.C.G.A. §16-7-61.

The penalty if convicted of second-degree arson can include a fine of no more than $25,000 or by a prison term between one and ten years, or both.

The Georgia Code defines third-degree arson in Georgia as:

A person commits arson in the third degree when, by means of fire or explosive, 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;
  • Any personal property 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
  • Any personal property 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.

The penalty if convicted of third-degree arson can include a fine not to exceed $10,000, or by a prison term between one and five years, or both.

Practice Note

Each degree of arson is classified as a felony in Georgia. Georgia Felony Punishments are severe and life-altering. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a felony offense, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today, so that we can help you with your case.

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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