As reported in the July 3, 2014 edition of the Providence Journal, a Woonsocket woman has been arrested and charged with first degree arson. The woman is accused of setting fire to her boyfriend's house. The woman received minor injuries while setting the fire.
There are seven (7) degrees of arson under Rhode Island General Laws. First degree arson, R.I.G.L. 11-4-2, is defined as any person who knowingly causes, procures, aids, counsels or creates by means of fire or explosion a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person or damage to any building the property of that person or another, whether or not used for residential purposes, which is occupied or in use for any purpose or which has been occupied or in use for any purpose during the six (6) months preceding the offense or to any other residential structure.
The penalties if convicted include shall imprisonment for not less than five (5) years and may be imprisoned for life, or shall be fined not less than three thousand dollars ($3,000) nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or both.
If a person was killed as a result of the arson, either dying in the fire or dying trying to stop the fire (i.e. a firefighter) the penalties increase to imprisonment for not less than twenty (20) years. In all such cases, the justice may only impose a sentence less than the minimum if he or she finds that substantial and compelling circumstances exist which justify imposition of the alternative sentence. That finding may be based upon the character and background of the defendant, the cooperation of the defendant with law enforcement authorities, the nature and circumstances of the offense, and/or the nature and quality of the evidence presented at trial. If a sentence which is less than imprisonment for the minimum term is imposed, the trial justice shall set forth on the record the circumstances which he or she found as justification for imposition of the lesser sentence.
First degree arson can also include any person who while under arrest or incarcerated knowingly causes, procures, aids, counsels or creates by means of fire or explosion the damage or destruction of any occupied or unoccupied building shall be guilty of arson in the first degree and shall be sentenced as provided in § 11-4-2.
This is charged as a domestic crime because the woman was dating the alleged victim. Therefore, if she is convicted, additional penalties of domestic violence counseling and a no-contact order will be imposed.
If you or a family member has been charged with arson, assault or other domestic violence crimes, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.