Maryland’s Arson and Burning Statute

Maryland law distinguishes between arson and burning in two different criminal statutes. The offenses for burning or arson in the State of Maryland are comprised of several offenses, ranging from burning a trash container to the most serious offense of arson in the first degree. While “property of another” is not defined under these statutes, that term is mentioned in the malicious burning statutes.

While “property of another” is not defined under these statutes, that term is mentioned in the malicious burning statutes.


Arson Crimes Prosecuted in Maryland

Arson is a serious felony in Maryland and can result in a lengthy prison sentence if you are convicted. The early involvement of an attorney is essential to protect your future. Arson is intentionally and maliciously setting fire to a structure or a place such as a woods or vacant lot. There are two degrees of arson:

  • First-degree arson is setting fire to an occupied structure or place; and
  • Second-degree arson is setting fire to an unoccupied structure or place.

You can be charged with second-degree arson if you burn your own building to collect insurance.

Both first-degree and second-degree arson are serious felony charges in the state of Maryland. Arson in the first degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years and/or a maximum fine of $50,000. Arson in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years and/or a maximum fine of $30,000.

Setting fire to a building or place can also be charged as a malicious burning, a less serious offense. If you cause more than $1,000 in damage, you may be charged with first-degree malicious burning, which is a felony. If you cause less than $1,000 in damage, you may be charged with second-degree malicious burning, which is a misdemeanor.

A minor accused of arson faces the risk of being charged as an adult and the potential of a long prison sentence. Whenever a minor is accused of a serious crime, my goal as his or her lawyer is to keep the case in juvenile court where the emphasis is on rehabilitation instead of incarceration.


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Crimes of Malicious Burning Prosecuted in the Maryland

Under Maryland law, a person may not willfully and maliciously set fire to or burn the personal property of another. The crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property destroyed.

A violator causing less than $1,000 in property damage is guilty of the misdemeanor of malicious burning in the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 18 months and/or a $500 maximum fine.

A violator causing property damage of at least $1,000 is guilty of the felony of malicious burning in the first degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and/or a $5,000 maximum fine.


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Finding an Attorney for Burning and Arson in Baltimore, MD

James Crawford is a criminal defense attorney in Baltimore, MD. He has more than two decades of experience as a trial lawyer defending people against state charges, including all types of misdemeanors and felonies in Baltimore and across the State of Maryland. He and his team of attorneys are experienced in fighting property crimes such as theft, malicious destruction of property, malicious burning, and arson.

Our attorneys know the tactics used by the law enforcement officers and prosecutors with the Offices of the Maryland State’s Attorneys who presents the state’s case in criminal trials in the District Courts. To protect your reputation and your future, contact James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates.

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operate two offices for your convenience, in Catonsville and Arbutus, MD. If you have been arrested for crimes against property in the city or county of Baltimore, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County or Harford, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on property crimes today.

Call 443-709-9999 to talk about your case and your best defense to the criminal charges.