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According to Washington Criminal Code 9A.48.020, "Arson in the first degree" is defined as knowingly and maliciously causing a fire or explosion that places others' lives in danger, damages a dwelling, involves a building or structure where someone is or will be present, or causes $10,000 or more in damage with the intent to collect insurance benefits on said damages. This offense is a class A felony, and a defendant may face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 if convicted. "Arson in the second degree" covers all other types of arson. This is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in a state correctional facility and/or a fine of up to $20,000.


When damage is caused to any type of structure, knowingly and maliciously, by fire or explosion, the charge of arson in the second degree will be filed. Depending upon the value of the property damage and whether or not people were harmed or could have been harmed, the charge is enhanced to first degree arson. These charges are the most serious of felonies and categorized as Class A (for first degree) and Class B (for second degree).

A proven Seattle defense attorney should be retained as soon as possible if you are accused of arson. Through skilled negotiation and effective investigatory actions, it may be possible to get charges dismissed completely. If not a dismissal, it may be possible to get the charges reduced to reckless burning or the gross misdemeanor charge of malicious mischief in the third degree. Your case should be reviewed immediately.


Depending on the nature of the offense, a defendant may face up to life in prison and a fine of $50,000. At our firm, we offer highly experienced criminal lawyers who are ready, willing and able to stand up for our clients' rights in the face of arson charges. If you are under investigation by state or federal law enforcement agencies or have already been taken into custody, you will need to move quickly and exercise your right to legal counsel.

A Seattle criminal defense attorney at our firm can help you navigate the Washington laws governing arson. In handling arson or any type of criminal charges for a client, we take care to address their individual needs and concerns in order to work out a more effective strategy that will offer the best chance at a dismissal or acquittal. We handle both first and second degree arson cases in the Seattle area.

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