ARSONS IN IOWA

Today, Des Moines Register reported about six fires that happened in Iowa. In this post, I want to explain how Iowa law defines the crime of arson.

According to Section 712.1 of the Iowa Code, Arson is defined as causing a fire or explosion, or placing any burning or combustible material, or any incendiary or explosive device or material, in or near any property with the intent to destroy or damage such property, or with the knowledge that such property will probably be destroyed or damaged whether or not any such property is actually destroyed or damaged.

The Iowa Code uses the language “intent to destroy or damage.”  It means that it does not matter whether such property is actually destroyed or damaged.  Simply setting a fire to someone’s property to cause damage is enough to commit arson. However, a defendant is not guilty of arson if an owner of the property consented to the defendant’s acts, those acts did not unreasonably endanger the life or property of any other person and no insurer was exposed fraudulently to any risk.

In Iowa, there are several degrees of arsons:

  • Arson is arson in the first degree when the presence of one or more persons can be reasonably anticipated in or near the property, which is the subject of the arson, or the arson results in the death of a firefighter. Arson in the first degree is a class “B” felony. It is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment
  • Arson is arson in the second degree when the property, which is the subject of the arson is a building or a structure, or real property of any kind, or standing crops, or is personal property the value of which exceeds five hundred dollars. Arson in the second degree is a class “C” felony. It is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a potential fine of $1,000.00 to $10,000.00.
  • Arson is arson in the third degree if it is not arson in the first degree or arson in the second degree. Arson in the third degree is an aggravated misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,250.

Moreover, it is a crime to threaten to place any incendiary or explosive device in any place where it will endanger persons or property. This crime is a class “D” felony. Children sometimes when they do not want to write a test make bomb threats or bomb pranks. It is important to explain to them that it is a crime to make bomb threats. That can result in criminal charges and serious academic consequences. This is an example of that.

As you can see, Arson is a serious crime in Iowa. That is why, a person charged with arson needs an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to provide guidance and assistance to get the best outcome. So, if you or your loved one is charged with arson in Iowa, do not hesitate to call us at Stowers and Sarcone Law Firm at 515.224.7446. Our experienced attorneys provide dedicated and experienced representation in cases that involve arson.