Michigan Arson Laws

Every state has laws making arson a crime, and usually it's a serious one. Michigan separates its arson laws into various degrees, and has another statute addressing arson of insured property. For the most part, arson is also taken seriously in Michigan, as only one type of arson (fifth degree arson) is not classified as a felony. The common theme in all of Michigan's arson statutes is that they require the offender to burn the various property "willfully or maliciously." The only exception is fourth degree arson which applies where one "willfully or negligently" sets fire to the grounds of another person, or allows a fire to spread to another person's property causing damage.

Michigan Arson Laws Overview

Below you'll find key provisions of arson laws in Michigan.

Statute(s)

Michigan Compiled Laws Section 750.71, et seq.

Prohibited Behavior

First degree arson (Section 750.72): willfully or maliciously burning:

  • a multiunit building in which 1 or more units are a dwelling;
  • any real property that results in physical injury to any person; or
  • a mine.

Second degree arson (Section 750.73): willfully or maliciously burning a dwelling.*

Third degree arson (Section 750.74): willfully or maliciously burning:

  • a building; or
  • personal property valued at $20,000 or more ($1,000 or more if the offender has a prior conviction).

Fourth degree arson (Section 750.75): willfully or maliciously burning:

  • personal property valued at $1,000 or more ($200 or more if the offender has a prior conviction); or
  • willfully or negligently setting fire to the grounds of another person or allowing a fire set on his or her own grounds to pass to someone else's property causing damage to that property.

Arson of insured property (Section 750.76): willfully or maliciously burning real or personal property that's insured against loss from fire with the intent to defraud the insurer.

Fifth degree arson (Section 750.77): intentionally burning personal property valued at $1,000 or less if the person has a prior conviction.

*each statute builds off of each other; so, if the circumstances fit into more than one statute, it will be classified as the more serious crime.

Charges Fifth degree arson is a misdemeanor and the other types of arson are felonies.
Penalties

First degree arson is punishable by up to and including life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $20,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property (whichever is greater).

Second degree arson is punishable by not more than 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property whichever is greater).

Third degree arson is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property (whichever is greater).

Fourth degree arson is punishable by not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property (whichever is greater).

The prison term for arson of insured property will depend on the character and value of the property that is damage. The offender can also be fined up to $20,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property (whichever is greater).

Fifth degree arson is punishable by not more than 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000 or 3 times the value of the damaged property (whichever is greater).

Related Statute(s)

Michigan Compiled Laws Sections 750.78 and 750.79

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Michigan Arson Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like more information about laws related to this topic, you can click on the links below:

Get Legal Help with Your Arson Case in Michigan

Arson is a serious crime in most states, including Michigan. Conviction under Michigan's arson laws can lead to imprisonment and/or fines, and end up on your criminal record. If you've been charged with arson in Michigan, it's in your best interests to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.