Loudoun County Firefighter Charged With Arson In Virginia
A volunteer firefighter in Loudoun County faces criminal charges for arson after allegedly setting their vehicle ablaze, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
The volunteer firefighter in question lives in West Virginia and was serving as a member of both the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System and the Purcellville Volunteer Fire Company.
This incident occurred just after 9 p.m. on August 21. Not far from Samuels Court, this volunteer firefighter allegedly set fire to their 2021 Honda Civic. Officials indicated that this incident resulted in damages of approximately $1,000.
Although this case continues to develop, local authorities have already charged the volunteer firefighter with arson. In the meantime, it seems appropriate to review the Virginia laws against and penalties for arson.
Arson Laws in Virginia
The state laws against arson appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-77. Under this section, it is unlawful to:
- Burn or use any explosive device or substance to destroy, totally or partially;
- Cause to be burned or destroyed, totally or partially; or
- Aid, counsel, procure such total or partial burning/destruction.
Arson crimes in violation of Section 18.2-77 can occur whether or not people are occupying the site at the time of the offense. In addition, these crimes can occur at, in, or around:
- Dwelling houses;
- Manufactured homes;
- Mental health facilities;
- Other places where people typically dwell or lodge;
- Railroad cars;
- River craft;
- Churches; or
- Buildings adjacent to and owned or leased by a church.
On top of the standard laws against arson described above, Virginia also prohibits:
- Burning or destroying any meeting house or similar structure (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-79);
- Burning or destroying other buildings or structures (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-80); and
- Burning or destroying personal property, standing grain, or other crop (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-81).
Arson Penalties in Virginia
The state penalties for arson also appear under Section 18.2-77, though the charges can change based on the presence of other people at the site of the offense.
If the site was occupied at the time of arson, it is a high-level felony. Upon conviction, the punishment can include imprisonment for five years to life and a maximum of $100,000 in criminal fines.
If the site was unoccupied at the time of arson, it is a Class 4 felony. Upon conviction, the punishment can include imprisonment for two to 10 years and a maximum of $100,000 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with criminal charges in Virginia, it can be tremendously helpful to speak with a diligent Leesburg criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP feature demonstrated experience in the field of criminal defense, including charges like arson. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.