There are five degrees of arson in Minnesota. Each degree brings different criminal consequences. The prosecuting attorneys carry the burden of proof in Minnesota arson cases. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Every degree of arson in Minnesota brings serious penalties. A great arson defense attorney can fight the prosecution and ensure your rights remain intact.
First Degree Arson
Minnesota law defines first degree arson as using fire or explosives to deliberately damage or destroy a dwelling (a place where people live), regardless of whether anyone is present at the time of the offense or not. Additionally, if arson is committed in an unoccupied structure, but someone is present at the time of the offense and the defendant knew about it, the defendant may face first degree arson charges.
If the offense is committed in a dwelling, the offender may receive up to 20 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. If the arson occurs in any other building the fine is increased to a maximum $35,000.
Second Degree Arson
Second degree arson includes destroying unoccupied dwellings or structures with the use of fire or explosives, or destroying property valued at more than $1,000.
The penalties for second degree arson include a fine of up to $20,000 and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.
Third Degree Arson
A person will face third degree arson charges if they intentionally destroy or damage property valued between $300 and $1,000 with fire or explosives.
A third degree arson offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
Fourth Degree Arson
Purposely setting fire to, or damaging with explosives, any personal property in a public building, or multiple unit residential building (condo or apartment complex), may be considered fourth degree arson, if the offense does not qualify under first, second, or third degree arson.
Fourth degree arson is a gross misdemeanor and carries penalties of up to one year in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.
Fifth Degree Arson
Fifth degree arson consists of setting fire to any property, regardless of value. This is the lowest arson charge in Minnesota.
Arson in the fifth degree is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.