According to authorities, a Paterson woman has been arrested and charged with arson in the large fire that displaced dozens of people and damaged a large multi-use building on Cianci Street. Four firefighters and one civilian were injured in the fire. According to the prosecutor’s office, 60 people were displaced from the building and several businesses on the lower floor sustained substantial damage. On Thursday, 37 year-old Yanit Valdez was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated arson and four counts of third-degree aggravated assault. Click here to read more at www.patersontimes.com.
The state of New Jersey takes aggravated arson cases very seriously and penalties can be severe.
Arson is codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1, which provides:
a. Aggravated Arson. A person is guilty of aggravated arson, a crime of the second degree, if he starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another s:
- Thereby purposely or knowingly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying a building or structure of another; or
- With the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage to such property under circumstances which recklessly place any other person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying or damaging a structure in order to exempt the structure, completely or partially, from the provisions of any State, county or local zoning, planning or building law, regulation, ordinance or enactment under circumstances which recklessly place any other person in danger of death or bodily injury; or
- With the purpose of destroying or damaging any forest.
The Penalties for Aggravated Arson are as follows: Aggravated Arson is a crime of the second degree, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Moreover, a conviction for Aggravated Arson under paragraph (1) is an enumerated crime under the No Early Release Act (NERA), meaning that 85% of the sentence imposed must be served before becoming eligible for parole.
If you or a loved one is charged with aggravated arson, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately especially given the potential prison sentence. Former Morris County Prosecutor, Alissa D. Hascup is skilled and experienced at representing countless individuals charged with Arson throughout the state of New Jersey; in towns like Wayne, Passaic, and Paterson. Contact her office for a free consultation about your case. She is available 24/7 at 862-257-1200.