In the state of New Jersey, arson is defined as the malicious burning of property with intent. However, there are different degrees of arson and different types of arson crimes in general. While all of these arson crimes do involve the intentional burning of property, the consequences may vary.
The differing degrees of arson take different factors into account. For example, some of these factors may include whether the targeted building was occupied or if insurance fraud was intended. In general, arson crimes that are considered to be minor generally have punishments that are not as harsh. On the other hand, arson crimes that are considered to be more serious, such as intentionally setting a fire to an occupied building, will have punishments that are more severe. It should also be noted that a person who is accused of setting fire to his or her own property in an effort to get insurance money can be charged with both arson and with insurance fraud.
When authorities are investigating a fire, they may use chemical analyses to determine where the fire started and what actually caused the fire. They may also look at the motivation behind the incident if it is believed that the fire was set intentionally.
If a person is accused of arson, he or she may also be charged with a variety of other felonies if authorities believed that the arson was committed to attempt to hide other crimes. As a result, a person facing felony charges could also be facing time spent in prison, hefty fines and a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney may look at the techniques that were used to analyze the evidence to determine whether or not authorities followed proper procedures. The attorney may then determine what strategies may work depending on the circumstances and the evidence.