NJ Juvenile Charged with Arson

New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Even though arson is an extremely serious charge it is actually relatively common among juveniles in New Jersey because of its legal definition. Most juvenile arson charges arise out of incidents where the juveniles were playing with fire or lighting fires without using proper precautions or without a permit. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall represent juveniles accused of arson. Our lawyers specialize in defending juveniles facing serious charges and are often able to get the charge dismissed during the delinquency hearing or reduced sentencing in the subsequent disposition hearing. We represent juveniles accused of arson anywhere in NJ including Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Bergen County, Somerset County, and Middlesex County. An attorney from our office can conveniently meet with you and your child absolutely free of charge.

New Jersey Juvenile Arson

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1, arson is a third degree crime, if you start a fire or cause an explosion on purpose, whether on your property or another’s and:(1) thereby you recklessly place another person in danger of injury or death; or (2) you recklessly place a building or another structure in imminent danger of damage or destruction; or (3) you set the fire so you can collect insurance proceeds from the destruction or damage to such property; or (4) to destroy or damage the property so you can exempt it from any zoning, planning, or ordinance regulations ; or (5) the fire recklessly places a forest in danger of destruction. In some circumstances failure to control or report dangerous fire can result in a crime. It is a fourth degree crime if a person does not make a reasonable effort to put out or control the fire, does not quickly alarm others to the fire, does not perform their legal duty to put out the fire or if the person started the fire. Lastly, the crime of arson gets upgraded to aggravated arson, a crime of the second degree, if the person started the fire with the purpose to the cause the damage. If the person is paid to commit the aggravated arson it is upgraded to a first degree offense. It is also a first degree crime if the target of arson was a place of public worship, and the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years without parole.

NJ Juvenile Arson Charges

A juvenile arson charge is a serious offense that can bring the possibility of incarceration because of the degree of offense. Since arson is considered a violent crime, when a juvenile is arrested for it the court will hold a retention hearing to decide if based on the facts the child will be retained in detention until the delinquency hearing. After the retention hearing the juvenile will have to attend a delinquency hearing where the court decides the juvenile’s guilt. If the child is found delinquent of the offense then a disposition hearing is held to determine the proper disposition. A third degree arson offense is punishable by up to 2 years of incarceration and numerous noncustodial dispositions such as community service, monitoring, probation, and fines. Fourth degree crimes and lower usually do not warrant incarceration for first time offenders but still bring a whole host of noncustodial sentences such as the ones listed above. However, it should also be noted that, since arson is a serious offense the juvenile may be tried as an adult and face even more severe penalties.

An arson conviction can seriously disrupt your child’s life and If your son or daughter has been accused of arson or a related offense do not waste any time in securing a distinguished juvenile defense attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall have over 40 years of experience at handling juvenile cases such as arson. Our lawyers will fight hard for your family and pool together our resources to design the best approach for your child’s defense. An attorney from out office is waiting to address you and your child’s concerns and advise you on the options.