Virginia Arson Laws
Whether it's a raging wildfire in the forest or a chemical explosion in an office building, fires are unfortunate events. What's even more unfortunate is when the fires are a result of arson. Arson is a very serious property crime which not only results in the destruction of property, but can also end with injury and the loss of life. Due to the high stakes of the crime, state laws that criminalize arson provide strict penalties. Virginia law is in accordance with this practice.
Arson Offenses in Virginia
Virginia divides arson offenses into various categories. In addition to crimes that involve the actual arsonist, the law also contains provisions for aiding and abetting.This means that you even if you didn't strike a match or enter the scene of the crime, you can be punished to the same extent as the actual arsonist because you encouraged or assisted with the arson.
Arson offenses include the following:
- Burning of a dwelling house
- Burning or destruction of a meeting house
- Burning or destruction of a structure
- Burning of personal property
Virginia Arson Laws at a Glance
It's critical to understand every word of a statute especially when it concerns criminal charges. However, it's also helpful to get a general sense of what the statute conveys from a plain language version of the content. See the chart below for a synopsis of Virginia's arson laws.
Burning of "dwelling house" (homes, manufactured homes, places of lodging):
Malicious burning of "meeting house" (courthouses, townhouses, colleges, churches, jails):
Malicious burning of other structures (structures not covered in the other statutes):
Burning/destroying personal property: burning or destroying (maliciously or with the intent to defraud an insurance company or other person) another's personal property.
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.
Virginia Arson Laws: Related Resources
Facing Arson Charges in Virginia? Connect with a Criminal Defense Attorney
An arson conviction can result in incarceration and hefty fines. If you're facing these very serious charges in Virginia, then make sure that you have an advocate on your side to help with your defense. Connect with an experienced defense attorney near you to get started.
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