Michigan’s New Arson Law

Michigan’s new arson law goes into effect today. It has been completely rewritten to reflect the following;

1. First Degree Arson. The wilful or malicious burning of any of the following. First degree arson is a felony, punishable by life or any term of years, a $20,000 fine / 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.72. It is a B felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 7707.16c.

a. A multi-unit building or in which 1 or more units are dwellings. MCL 750.72(1)(a).

b. Any building, structure, or real property if the fire results in physical injury to any individual. MCL 750.72(1)(b).

c. A mine. MCL 750.72(1)(c).

i.  It is not a defense that the defendant set fire to his or her own property. MCL 750.72(2).

2. Second Degree Arson. The wilful or malicious burning of a dwelling or its contents. MCL 750.73.

a. Second degree arson is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.73.

b. It is a D felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

i. It is not a defense that the defendant set fire to his or her own property. MCL 750.73(2).

3. Third Degree Arson. The wilful or malicious burning of any of the following. Third degree arson is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.54. It is an E felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

a. Any building or structure or its contents. MCL 750.54(1)(a).

b. Any personal property valued at $20,000 or more. MCL 750.54(1)(b)(i).

c. Any personal property valued at $1,000 or more if the person has one or more prior convictions. MCL 750.54(1)(b)(ii).

i. It is not a defense that the defendant set fire to his or her own property. MCL 750.54(2).

4. Fourth Degree Arson. Fourth Degree Arson includes any of the following. Fourth degree arson is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed, or both. MCL 750.75.

a. Wilfully or maliciously burns any personal property having a value of $1,000 but less than $20,000. MCL 750.75(1)(a)(i).

b. Wilfully maliciously burns any personal property having a value of $200 or more if the defendant has one or more prior convictions. MCL 750.75(1)(a)(ii).

i. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.75(2).

c. Wilfully or negligently set fire to woods, prairie, or ground of another person. MCL 750.75(1)(b).

d. Wilfully or negligently permits fire to pass from his or her own woods, prairie, or grounds to another person’s property causing damage or destruction to that person’s property. MCL 750.75(1)(b).

5. Fifth Degree Arson. Intentionally damaging or destroying by fire any personal property valued at $1,000 or less and has one ore more prior convictions. Fifth degree arson is a misdemeanor, punishable by up up to 1 year in jail, a $2,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.77.

a. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.75(2).

6. Arson of an Insured Dwelling. The wilful or malicious burning of an insured dwelling or its contents, with the intent to defraud. MCL 750.76.

a. Felony punishable by up to life or any terms of years, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.76(3)(a). It is an A felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

b. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.76(2).

7. Arson of Insured Real Property. The wilful or malicious burning of an insured building or other real property, or its contents, with the intent to defraud. MCL 750.76.

a. Felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.76(3)(b). It is a B felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

b. It is not a defense that the person burned his or her own property. MCL 750.76(2).

8. Arson of Insured Personal Property. The wilful or malicious burning or any insured personal property with the intent to defraud. MCL 750.76.

a. Felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / up to 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.76(3)(a). It is a D felony under the guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

b. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.76.

9. Arson of Property Valued Between $200 – $1,000. The intentional, wilful, and malicious burning of the following is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2,000 fine / 3 times the value of the burned property. MCL 750.78(3)(a).

a. Any personal property valued between $200 and $1,000. MCL 750.78(1)(a)(I).

b.Any personal property valued less than $200 if the person has one or more prior convictions. MCL 750.78(1)(a)(ii).

i. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.78(2).

10. Arson under $200. The intentional, wilful, or malicious, burning of personal property valued less than $200. MCL 750.78(iii).

a. Misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine / 3 times the value of the property destroyed. MCL 750.78(3)(b).

i. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.78(2).

11. Carelessly Setting Fire to a Hotel. The negligent, careless, or reckless setting of a fire to a motel or a hotel, or its contents, that endangers the life or property of another person is a misdemeanor. MCL 750.78(b).

a. Misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine / 3 times the value of the destroyed property. MCL 750.78(3)(b).

i. It is not a defense that the defendant burned his or her own property. MCL 750.78(2).

12. Placing Inflammable Materials with the Intent to Commit Arson. A person who uses, arranges, places, devises, or distributes an inflammable, combustible, or explosive material, substance, liquid, or device near a building, personal property or real property with the intent to commit arson in any degree is subject to the following penalties. MCL 750.79.

1. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine / 3 times the value of the property, or both, if the combined value of the destroyed property is less than $200. MCL 750.59(1)(a).

2. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2,000 fine / 3 times the value of the property, or both, if;

a. The combined value of the property is $200 – $1,000, or

b. The property has a value of less than $200 and the person has a prior conviction. MCL 750.79(1)(b).

3. It is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine / 3 times the property value, or both, if;

a. The combined value of the property is $1,000 – $20,000, or

b. The property has a value of $200 – $1,000 and the person has a prior conviction for an offense involving more than $200, or

c. The property was a building, structure, or real property. MCL 750.79(1)(c).

d. It is an E felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

4. It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a $15,000 fine / 3 times the property value, or both, if;

a. The combined value of the property is $20,000 or more, or

b. The property has a value of $1,000 – $20,000 and the person has 2 prior convictions for offenses involving more than $200, or

c. The property was insured and has a value of more than $2,000 and the fire was set with the intent to defraud an insurer, or

d. the property was a building, structure, or real property and the fire resulted in injury to a person, or

e. The property was an insured building, structure, or real property and the fire was caused with the intent to defraud the insurer, or

f. The property was a dwelling. MCL 750.79(1)(d).

g. It is a D felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

5. It is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine / 3 times the property value, or both, if;

a. the property was an insured dwelling and the fire was caused with the intent to defraud the insurer, or

b. The property was a dwelling and the fire resulted in injury to any person. MCL 750.79(1)(e).

c. It is a C felony under the guidelines. MCL 777.16c.

More: Information on Criminal Charges in Michigan

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