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Arson: What you need to know

Arson is a serious crime that is defined as the willful burning of property. There are many types of crimes that fit into this category, such as setting fire to a property in an attempt to collect insurance money.

Despite the fact that most arson crimes involve the damage of real estate, it can also be committed by somebody who sets fire to a boat, motor vehicle or land.

What are the degrees of arson? Just the same as most crimes, there are many degrees of arson. Each state has its own laws, many of which are based on factors such as whether or not insurance fraud was intended and whether or not the building was occupied at the time of starting the fire.

The most serious categories of arson will result in the strictest punishment. For example, there is a big difference between setting fire to a home in which people are sleeping and setting fire to an empty barn that is many miles away from civilization.

Many people engage in arson because they believe it can lead to a financial gain. For example, they will set fire to their own home in an attempt to collect insurance money. This is a serious crime, as it can lead to both arson and insurance fraud charges.

With so many types of arson, as well as fires that start with no intent, anybody charged with this crime should understand the legal system, including the laws in their state. This will ensure that they take the right approach, with the idea of avoiding serious punishment.

Source: Robert D Didio & Associates, "Arson," accessed Sep. 10, 2015

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