Burning Personal Property

Burning of Personal Property in Massachusetts

The burning of personal property, for example, motor vehicle is a property crime. The crime of arson is the leading cause of fires that occur each year in the United States, as reported by the United States Fire Administration. Arson fires have the ability to cause great damage, injury and possibly even death. Arsonists often target property that has a high value or worth, for example, a car.

The crime of burning personal property is a concurrent felony crime that is codified in M.G.L. c 266 § 5 and can be tried in either the district or superior court. In order to convict a defendant of the crime of burning of personal property in the Commonwealth, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following four essential elements:

  1. That the property in question had a value exceeding twenty-five ($25.00) dollars;
  2. The accused must have set fire to or burned the property, or caused the property to be burned, or aided, counseled another, or procured the property to be burned;
  3. The accused must have burned the property willfully, meaning intentionally and not merely by accident.
  4. The accused must also have burned the property maliciously meaning that the burning was done with an unlawful motive and without lawful excuse.

In this definition, “willful” means doing something intentionally and by design. Adding this word to the requirements to the law, it eliminates accidental or negligent burnings. However, this doesn’t excuse a person who accidentally or negligently ignites a fire, but then doesn’t make any attempts to either extinguish it or report it.

The word “malice,” also should be clarified, because it does not require any particular ill will against another person. A burning is in fact malicious if it is done with a wrong and unlawful motive or purpose.

A fire can ignite for many reasons, not all are criminal. However, interested parties will have a reason for investigating the true source of why and how a fire started. If proper investigation does lead to a source of arson, criminal charges will be filed and can lead to very serious consequences. If you face such a criminal charge you must act decisively and contact a qualified Massachusetts property crime lawyer right away.

Massachusetts Burning Personal Property Criminal Defense Attorney

Massachusetts arson charges are very serious and they demand serious legal representation. Burning of personal property is prosecuted aggressively and anyone convicted of doing so faces harsh legal penalties including jail time, probation, restitution, fines, fees and all other collateral consequences that result from a conviction. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been practicing criminal defense in Massachusetts for 19 years and has the experience and legal skills necessary to vigorously defend your Massachusetts burning insured property criminal case. It is of the utmost importance to confidentially discuss your criminal matter right away with an experienced attorney and not to confide in and give statements to police detectives and fire investigators who are specifically trained to detect crime to ensure preparation for the strongest case possible for prosecution. Contact Attorney Murphy today at (617) 367-0450 or through the contacts tab on our website to discuss your case confidentially and free of charge.

Client Reviews
"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User