Reckless BurningIn addition to Arson charges, Washington State has two lesser charges of “Reckless Burning,” which can be charged as First Degree (Class C Felony) or Second Degree (Gross Misdemeanor). For a person convicted of First Degree with no prior felony history, the standard sentencing range is zero to sixty days (0-60), but is punishable by up to 5 years in jail. Under RCW 9A.48.040, a person is guilty of Reckless Burning in the First Degree if "he [or she] recklessly damages a building or other structure or any vehicle, railway car, aircraft or watercraft or any hay, grain, crop, or timber whether cut or standing, by knowingly causing a fire or explosion." Under RCW 9A.48.5, a person is guilty of Reckless Burning in the First Degree if "he [or she] knowingly causes a fire or explosion, whether on his own property or that of another, and thereby recklessly places a building or other structure, or any vehicle, railway car, aircraft, or watercraft, or any hay, grain, crop or timber, whether cut or standing, in danger of destruction or damage." It is a statutory defense to either First or Second Degree Reckless Burning if the defendant proves by preponderance (more likely than not) that:
- a) No person other than the defendant had a possessory, or pecuniary interest in the damaged or endangered property, or if other persons had such an interest, all of them consented to the defendant's conduct; AND
- b) The defendant's sole intent was to destroy or damage the property for a lawful purpose
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC represents clients charged with criminal offenses in Northwest Washington Courts, including King County, Skagit County, Snohomish County and Whatcom County, as well as other counties on a case-by-case basis. These counties include courts in and for the following cities: Anacortes, Arlington, Auburn, Bellevue, Blaine, Bothell, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Lynden, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Monroe, Redmond, Sea-Tac, Seattle, Sedro Woolley, Shoreline, Snohomish, and Tukwila, Washington.