Firesetting Consequences

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"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Legal Consequences

Arson - The willful or malicious burning of property (as a building), especially with criminal or fraudulent intent.

Tennessee arson laws

39-14-301. Arson.

(a) A person commits an offense who knowingly damages any structure by means of a fire or explosion:

(1) Without the consent of all persons who have a possessory, proprietary or security interest therein; or

(2) With intent to destroy or damage any structure to collect insurance for the damage or destruction or for any unlawful purpose.

(b) (1) Arson is a Class C felony.

39-14-302. Aggravated arson.

(a) A person commits aggravated arson who commits arson as defined in § 39-14-301 or § 39-14-303:

(1) When one (1) or more persons are present therein; or

(2) When any person, including firefighters and law enforcement officials, suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the fire or explosion.

(b) (1) Aggravated arson is a Class A felony.

39-14-303. Setting fire to personal property or land.

(a) A person commits arson who knowingly damages any personal property, land, or other property, except buildings or structures covered under § 39-14-301, by means of a fire or explosion:

(1) Without the consent of all persons who have a possessory or proprietary interest therein; or

(2) With intent to destroy or damage any such property for any unlawful purpose.

(b) A violation of this section is a Class E felony.

39-14-304. Reckless burning.

(a) A person commits reckless burning who:

(1) Recklessly starts a fire on the land, building, structure or personal property of another; or

(2) Starts a fire on such person's own land, building, structure or personal property and recklessly allows the fire to escape and burn the property of another.

(b) Reckless burning is a Class A misdemeanor.

Prosecution options

  • Upon a juvenile’s conviction for juvenile arson, the juvenile court has the option of incarcerating the individual in an age-appropriate facility until age 21, or:
  • Juveniles involved in felony arson may be prosecuted in adult court.
  • Firesetting activities can be considered as arson.
  • Any firesetting activity that results in any property damage or injury may be prosecuted as arson.
  • Article - "Indiana teens may be charged after firefighter death"

Felony consequences

A person convicted of a felony:

  • May not vote or hold public office 
  • May not own or use firearms 
  • May not serve in the Armed Forces 
  • May not hold a position of public trust 
  • May not obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Financial consequences

Restitution

1: an act of restoring or a condition of being restored: as a: a restoration of something to its rightful owner b: a making good of or giving an equivalent for some injury

2: a legal action serving to cause restoration of a previous state

You and your family can be held civilly liable to the victim in a private lawsuit. You and your family may be required to pay for:

  • Property damages
  • Physical injuries
  • Discomfort (pain and suffering)
  • Direct out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Lost time from work
  • Emotional injuries

Personal impact

  • Loss of friends (no contact order by judge)
  • Loss of parental trust

Community impact

  • Public safety
  • Public works
  • Citizens

Severe burn injuries

Severe burn injuries damage muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels and are among the most painful and devastating injuries a person can experience. They impair the body’s:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical appearance
  • Respiratory system, with possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure and respiratory arrest

Third degree burns involve all the layers of the skin. They are referred to as “full thickness burns” and are the most serious of all burns. They may be excruciatingly painful, although some patients may feel little or no pain because their nerve endings have been destroyed. Third degree burns form dense scars as they heal and may require skin grafting.