Types of Arson in Arizona


In Arizona, there are different levels of arson that range from the burning of wildlands to the burning of an occupied structure. Depending on the level of arson committed, it could be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. If emergency response personnel are called to the scene, the person convicted of arson may be held liable for the expenses that were incurred.

Reckless Burning

Reckless burning occurs when a person unintentionally causes a fire or explosion, which causes damage to an occupied structure, an unoccupied structure, wildlands, or property. Reckless burning is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Unlawful Cross or Symbol Burning

Arizona state law states that it’s unlawful for a person to burn a cross on the property of another person without their consent, on a highway, or any other public place. It’s also unlawful to burn any other symbol on the property of another person without their consent, on a highway or in another public place. Both of these criminal acts are class 1 misdemeanors.

Wildlands Burning

The only types of wildlands burnings that are legal include:

  1. Open burnings that are lawfully conducted in the course of agricultural operations.
  2. Fire management operations that are conducted by a political subdivision.
  3. Prescribed or controlled burns that are conducted with written authority from the state forester.
  4. Lawful activities that are conducted pursuant to any rule, regulation, or policy that is adopted by a state, tribal, or federal agency.

If wildlands burning takes place, and it isn’t one of the lawful reasons above, the arsonist could be looking at a class 3 felony.

  1. If the act is committed negligently, it’s considered a class 2 misdemeanor.
  2. If the act is committed recklessly, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor.
  3. If the person commits the act intentionally or knowingly, it’s a class 6 felony.
  4. If the act places a person, an occupied structure, or an unoccupied structure in danger of injury or damage, it’s considered a class 3 felony.

Arson of a Structure or Property

Property is defined as anything besides a structure that has value, whether it’s tangible or not. A structure is any building, watercraft, vehicle, aircraft, or an object that has sides and a floor.

Value of the Property

Type of Crime

Less than $100 Class 1 Misdemeanor
Between $100 and $1,000 Class 5 Felony
More than $1,000 Class 4 Felony
  • Arson of an unoccupied structure is a class 4 felony.
  • Arson of an occupied structure is a class 2 felony.
  • Arson of an occupied jail or prison is a class 3 felony.

If you’ve been arrested for arson in Arizona, you could face several years in prison. You can protect yourself by scheduling a free and confidential consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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