Some acts of arson are motived by attempts to collect money through false homeowner’s insurance claims. The study of the causes is the subject of fire investigation. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines arson as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.  Most acts of arson are not committed by pyromaniacs. Arson is the act of intentionally setting fire to property for the purpose of destruction. People who commit arson can face stiff penalties and or prison sentences. In New York, arson is charged in five degrees. & Dalby, J. T., 2000. For example, in the state of Tennessee, arson is categorized as "arson" and "aggravated arson". 1st- and 2nd-degree arson are category B felonies. (b) Arson that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years. supine ārsum are most likely themselves analogical forms based on second-conjugation verbs such as mansī, mansum (from manēre "to wait, remain"), given that ārdēre (from āridus, ārdus "dry") cannot be of great antiquity in Latin. Historically, the common law crime of arson had four elements: Many U.S. state legal systems and the legal systems of several other countries divide arson into degrees, depending sometimes on the value of the property but more commonly on its use and whether the crime was committed in the day or night. Fires set to further social, political or religious causes. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. In some states, the definition of the crime is expanded to include the burning of one’s own property if done for an improper purpose. 5. Many jurisdictions impose prison sentences commensurate with the seriousness of the criminal intent of the accused. (1992) at 281. Arson is a serious property crime that has significant repercussions for offenders no matter what state you live in. For other uses, see, This article is about the crime. Modern day arson laws are much broader and include the burning of buildings, land, and any property including motor vehicles, boats and even clothing. If a violation resulted in personal injury to any person, the maximum sentence is 40 years in jail, with a minimum of 7 years. In California, a conviction for arson of property that is not one's own is a felony punishable by up to three years in state prison. ), Old French arsion, from Late Latin arsionem (nominative arsio) "a burning," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin ardere "to burn," from PIE root *as-"to burn, glow." White, J. Arson can be used as a weapon of revenge or motivated by some other conniving, covert, destructive aim, but fire-setting is also an irresistible compulsion for some, recognized as a … Most cases of arson involve buildings, but the charge can also apply to vehicles, or land without structures on it. Arson in the second degree is a class B felony. For example, the element of "dwelling" is no longer required in most states, and arson occurs by the burning of any real property without consent or with unlawful intent. Arson is almost always considered a felony due to its capacity to cause death and destruction. Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of other things, such as motor vehicles, watercraft, or forests.  A common motive for arson is to commit insurance fraud. property used in interstate or foreign commerce or in any activity affecting interstate or foreign commerce." Send us feedback. Most forms of arson are a felony. Insurance for businesses and homes usually covers arson, though sometimes company owners set fire to their own buildings as a form of insurance fraud. – Identify relevant chemicals found at crime scene. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arson.' Raymond Lee Oyler was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to death for a 2006 fire in southern California that led to the deaths of five U.S. Forest Service firefighters; he was the first U.S. citizen to receive such a conviction and penalty for wildfire arson.. Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch notes that medieval attestations and later survivals are markedly regional (west and southwest France, including Normandy and Francophone Brittany. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston. Extremism. arson (n.) "malicious burning of property," 1670s, from Anglo-French arsoun (late 13c.  Arson is prosecuted with attention to degree of severity in the alleged offense. The act of arson may include such acts as setting fire to a property maliciously, or burning a property with the intent to collect insurance money. According to common law, … Arson is difficult to investigate for three main reasons: The arsonist can plan out the arson well in advance and bring all the tools needed to commit the act with him/her. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines arson as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc. It has a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. Outside of Anglo-French, arsun, arson (with a by-form arsion) is sparsely attested in Old and Middle French. A person commits first-degree arson if he/she willfully or maliciously sets fire to: 1. a multi-unit building where at least one unit is a dwelling, 2. property and someone is physically hurt as a result, and/or 3. a mine. The punishment for arsonists depends on the state and the degree of the offense. . (a) Arson that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years. What is arson? 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