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Penalties for negligent arson in Florida

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Arson

Arson charges are not restricted to those who intentionally set fire to buildings. Even a person who causes a fire on accident can face charges of arson by negligence

In Florida, a conviction of negligent arson can result in severe consequences.

Definition of negligent arson

Negligent arson occurs when someone starts a fire or allows something to burn due to carelessness. The person does need to have had the intention to burn anything or even know that a fire was taking place.

Penalties for negligent arson

Florida statute Chapter 590, Section 28 explains penalties for negligent arson. If the fire results in bodily harm to a firefighter or another person, regardless of intent, the offender is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. The punishment can include imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. If the fire results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to a firefighter or another person, the offender is guilty of a felony of the second degree. The punishment can include imprisonment for up to 15 years and fines up to $10,000.

Example scenarios

If someone discards a lit cigarette butt in a wooded area during the dry season, causing a wildfire that results in injuries to firefighters battling the blaze, that person could face charges of negligent arson. The following are other potential scenarios resulting in this charge:

  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Unattended cooking
  • Misuse of fireworks
  • Burning of yard waste
  • Lack of child supervision

In each of these situations, the individual may not have intended to start a fire, but a lack of attention or precautions led to the ignition.

Negligent arson is a serious offense in Florida, carrying significant penalties. However, it is a lesser charge than first-degree arson, which applies to those who had malicious intent or were in the act of committing another felony when the fire began.

 

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