Arson in Louisiana
October 25th, 2022
What is arson in Louisiana
Traditionally people think of arson and think of burning property belonging to another. While that is under the arson umbrella, Louisiana has several levels of arson. I have simplified the specifics, but the gist of the arson statutes is as follows:
Aggravated arson is the intentional burning of the property of another when it is foreseeable that human life might be in danger. The sentencing range is six to 20 years at hard labor and up to a $25,000 fine. Aggravated arson occurs when someone sets fire to a structure with someone inside. Examples include burning someone’s house at night or setting fire to a facility such as a jail or a hospital with people inside.
Injury by arson
Injury by arson is the intentional damaging of property of another which results in great bodily injury to the individual or when a firefighter or law enforcement officer is present and injured. The penalty is the same as aggravated arson.
Simple arson is the intentional burning of the property of another. The penalty is up to 15 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. This is the most common of the arson cases I see and is simply burning someone else’s property. Like all arson statutes, this is not limited to burning someone’s house. The arson statute includes burning their belongings, which could be a vehicle, or throwing their clothes out front and torching them.
Simple arson of a religious building
Simple arson of a religious building is the intentional setting of fire to a religious building. The penalty is two to 15 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
Negligent arson is damaging a building by fire because of criminal negligence. Negligent arson can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the facts, and the punishment varies greatly.
Keep in mind the laws and interpretations are continually changing. The above references laws in effect as of 2022 outlined in LSA R.S. 14:51 thru 14:52.1. As rulings come down from different courts and jurisdictions these rules are apt to change.
If you or someone you know has a question about an arson charge and how to defend these cases and wants to discuss the process, do not hesitate to contact the law office of Larrion L. Hillman at 318-549-9810. AND REMEMBER, this blog is not intended to be formal legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship. If you have a question about whether you need to retain an attorney, do not hesitate to contact me, Larrion Hillman, a criminal defense attorney serving northwest Louisiana. Larrion Hillman practices criminal defense in Caddo Parish, Webster Parish, Bossier Parish, Shreveport, and Bossier City, Louisiana. And remember, keep calm and let Hillman handle it.
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