Under Rhode Island criminal law, Second-Degree Arson may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-4-3. This offense penalizes the conduct of knowingly and intentionally causing damage or destruction of any unoccupied building, structure or facility by means of fire or explosion.
Legal Elements of Second-Degree Arson
In order to be convicted of Second-Degree Arson, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant caused, procured, aided or counseled the damage or destruction of a building
- the building at the time of the offense was unoccupied
- that the defendant did so by means of fire or explosion
- the defendant did so knowingly and intentionally
Are Defendants Charged with Second-Degree and Lesser Degrees of Arson Eligible for Bail
Under Rhode Island criminal law, all defendants charged with a crime have a general right to be released on bail. However, this general rule is not without exception.
Under Article I, Section 9 of the Rhode Constitution, where proof of guilt is evidence or the presumption of guilt of great for a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment, a defendant may be ordered held without bail while awaiting trial.
Only First-Degree Arson is a capital offense that, upon conviction, is punishably by the possibility of life imprisonment.
This means that defendants who are charged with any degree of arson under Rhode Island criminal law, with the exception of First-Degree Arson, are entitled to be released on bail while awaiting trial.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of Second-Degree Arson in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island criminal law, a conviction for Second-Degree Arson is a felony. Convicted offenders the d shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two (2) years nor more than twenty (20) years.
Furthermore, whenever a death occurs to a person as a direct result of the defendant’s conduct, a term of imprisonment shall not be for less than twenty (20) years. These penalties related to Second-Degree Arson may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-4-3.
If you have been charged with Second-Degree Arson and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Arson Lawyers of the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.