In the state of Oklahoma, there are four different degrees of arson that someone can be charged with, all of which are considered felonies. Being accused of arson is something that one should take very seriously. Possible penalties for an arson conviction include large fines, time in prison, and the loss of other freedoms on both a state and federal level.
As some of the top Oklahoma City criminal defense attorneys, we have fought and won in court for many defendants wrongfully accused in Oklahoma. Arson cases are often complicated and require a special attention detail. Evidence in this type of case must be carefully examined and expert witnesses are usually needed to properly interpret the facts. An attorney with the right knowledge and experience is absolutely critical to mounting a successful defense against an arson charge.
What Is Considered Arson in Oklahoma?
In the simplest terms, Oklahoma state law defines arson as the act of intentionally setting fire to property, a structure such as a building or a house, or to someone else’s belongings, causing partial or complete destruction. The law includes fires started by hand, by the use of any explosive device, accelerant, ignition device, or heat-producing device or substance.
Oklahoma law, however, takes the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime into account and breaks the possible charges down into four separate degrees.
First Degree Arson in Oklahoma
Arson becomes a first-degree felony when the fire damages or destroys a building or structure that is inhabited or occupied by one or more people.
Someone can also be charged with first-degree arson for causing a fire, “while manufacturing, attempting to manufacture or endeavoring to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance in violation of subsection G of Section 2-401 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes.”
Second Degree Arson in Oklahoma
Second-degree arson is defined as setting fire to a building or structure that is not inhabited or occupied. It is possible, however, to be charged with first-degree arson under Oklahoma law if the building burned is used for lodging, even if the building was empty at the time the fire occurred.
Third Degree Arson in Oklahoma
Third-degree arson is willfully burning or setting fire to any property belonging to someone else that is worth more than $50.00.
Fourth Degree Arson in Oklahoma
A person can be charged with fourth-degree arson for attempting to set fire to any property belonging to another person valued at more than $50.00
The same charges can also be filed against someone for counseling, aiding, or procuring someone else to commit an act that would be considered arson.
Penalties for Arson in Oklahoma
Each of the different arson charges carries a different set of maximum penalties according to Oklahoma state law. They are as follows:
- First-degree arson: up to a $25,000 fine and 35 years in prison
- Second-degree arson: up to a $20,000 fine and 25 years in prison
- Third-degree arson: up to a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison
- Fourth-degree arson: up to a $5,000 fine and 10 years in prison
Contact a Trusted Arson Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with arson in Oklahoma, we’re ready to put our experience and expertise to work for you. We understand how serious an arson charge is and what it takes to present a successful defense in court. Every step of the way, we’ll fight for your rights to bring you the best possible outcome.
If you’ve been charged with, or have questions about the laws regarding arson in Oklahoma, contact us anytime and we’ll be happy to address your concerns and discuss how we can help you.