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Criminal Defense for Arson and Reckless Burning Statutes

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with Washington State arson or reckless burning the government must prove the elements required under the Washington State criminal statute of the offense. These charges are broad and serious, with all arson charges being felonies and reckless burning being a gross-misdemeanor.

Washington State Arson or Reckless Statutes

Below is the statute and what Washington State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before gaining a conviction for this offense. If you have any questions about the elements of the Washington State arson or reckless statutes, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Below is the Revised Code of Washington Statutes (What the Washington State government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime):

9A.48.010  Arson Definitions

(1) For the purpose of this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise:

(a) "Building" has the definition in RCW 9A.04.110(5), and where a building consists of two or more units separately secured or occupied, each unit shall not be treated as a separate building;

(b) "Damages", in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any charring, scorching, burning, or breaking, or agricultural or industrial sabotage, and shall include any diminution in the value of any property as a consequence of an act;

(c) "Property of another" means property in which the actor possesses anything less than exclusive ownership.

(2) To constitute arson it is not necessary that a person other than the actor has ownership in the building or structure damaged or set on fire.

9A.48.020 - Arson in the First Degree

(1) A person is guilty of arson in the first degree if he or she knowingly and maliciously:

(a) Causes a fire or explosion which is manifestly dangerous to any human life, including firefighters; or

(b) Causes a fire or explosion which damages a dwelling; or

9A.48.030 - Arson in the Second Degree

(1) A person is guilty of arson in the second degree if he knowingly and maliciously causes a fire or explosion which damages a building, or any structure or erection appurtenant to or joining any building, or any wharf, dock, machine, engine, automobile, or other motor vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, bridge, or trestle, or hay, grain, crop, or timber, whether cut or standing or any range land, or pasture land, or any fence, or any lumber, shingle, or other timber products, or any property.

(2) Arson in the second degree is a class B felony.

9A.48.040 -  Reckless Burning in the First Degree

(1) A person is guilty of reckless burning in the first degree if he recklessly damages a building or other structure or any vehicle, railway car, aircraft or watercraft or any hay, grain, crop, or timber whether cut or standing, by knowingly causing a fire or explosion.

(2) Reckless burning in the first degree is a class C felony.

9A.48.050 - Reckless Burning in the Second Degree

(1) A person is guilty of reckless burning in the second degree if he knowingly causes a fire or explosion, whether on his own property or that of another, and thereby recklessly places a building or other structure, or any vehicle, railway car, aircraft, or watercraft, or any hay, grain, crop or timber, whether cut or standing, in danger of destruction or damage.

(2) Reckless burning in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.

9A.48.060 - Reckless Burning — Defense.

In any prosecution for the crime of reckless burning in the first or second degrees, it shall be a defense if the defendant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(a) No person other than the defendant had a possessory, or pecuniary interest in the damaged or endangered property, or if other persons had such an interest, all of them consented to the defendant's conduct; and

(b) The defendant's sole intent was to destroy or damage the property for a lawful purpose.

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