P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 108, approved June 2, 1997

Assembly, No. 2166 (First Reprint)

 

 

 

 

 

An Act concerning arson and amending N.J.S.2C:17-1.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. N.J.S.2C:17-1 is amended to read as follows:

    2C:17-1. Arson and related offenses.

    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:

    (1) Thereby purposely or knowingly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

    (2) With the purpose of destroying a building or structure of another; or

    (3) 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.

    b. Arson. A person is guilty of arson, a crime of the third degree, if he purposely starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another's:

    (1) Thereby recklessly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

    (2) Thereby recklessly placing a building or structure of another in danger of damage or destruction; or

    (3) With the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage to such property.

    c. Failure to control or report dangerous fire. A person who knows that a fire is endangering life or a substantial amount of property of another and either fails to take reasonable measures to put


out or control the fire, when he can do so without substantial risk to himself, or to give prompt fire alarm, commits a crime of the fourth degree if:

    (1) He knows that he is under an official, contractual, or other legal duty to prevent or combat the fire; or

    (2) The fire was started, albeit lawfully, by him or with his assent, or on property in his custody or control.

    d. Any person who, directly or indirectly, pays or accepts any form of consideration including, but not limited to, money or any other pecuniary benefit, for the purpose of starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of this section commits a crime of the first degree.

    e. Notwithstanding the provisions of any section of this Title to the contrary, if a person is convicted of aggravated arson pursuant to the provisions of subsection a. of this section and the structure which was the target of the offense was a health care facility or a physician's office, the sentence imposed shall include a term of imprisonment. The court may not suspend or make any other noncustodial disposition of a person sentenced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

    f. Definitions. "Structure" is defined in section 2C:18-1. Property is that of another, for the purpose of this section, if any one other than the actor has a possessory or proprietary interest therein. If a building or structure is divided into separately occupied units, any unit not occupied by the actor is an occupied structure of another.

    As used in this section, "health care facility" means health care facility as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-2).

    g. Notwithstanding the provisions of any section of this Title to the contrary, if a person is convicted pursuant to the provisions of subsection a., b. or d. of this section and the structure which was the target of the offense was a church, synagogue, temple or other place of public worship, 1that person commits a crime of the first degree and1 the sentence imposed shall include a term of imprisonment. The term of imprisonment shall include a minimum term of 15 years 1[ for a crime of the first degree, 10 years for a crime of the second degree, five years for a crime of the third degree, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime]1 , during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. The court may not suspend or make any other noncustodial disposition of a person sentenced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

(cf: P.L.1991, c.498, s.1)

 

    2. This act shall take effect immediately.


                             

Provides for mandatory terms of imprisonment for arson under certain circumstances.