As per the Code of Virginia §18.2-82:
“If any person while in any building or other structure unlawfully, with intent to commit a felony therein, shall burn or cause to be burned, in whole or in part, such building or other structure, the burning of which is not punishable under any other section of this chapter, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.”
Understanding the Chesterfield Virginia arson law:
As per the Chesterfield, Virginian law, burning down a dwelling is considered as a criminal act of arson. Arson is considered as intentionally burning any building or any property by the offender. The dwelling is not just restricted to houses but it even includes the following properties:
- churches and synagogues
- railroad cars
- treatment facilities
Whenever an offender is found burning any kind of dwelling he will be charged with strict penalties, however, the act of arson which is committed during the night is more punishable. A majority of people are sleeping during the night, the burning down can cause major harm.
As per 18.2-77 – Burning or destroying dwelling house law
“If any person maliciously (i) burns, or by use of any explosive device or substance destroys, in whole or in part, or causes to be burned or destroyed, or (ii) aids, counsels or procures the burning or destruction of any dwelling house or manufactured home whether belonging to himself or another, or any occupied hotel, hospital, mental health facility, or other house in which persons usually dwell or lodge, any occupied railroad car, boat, vessel, or river craft in which persons usually dwell or lodge, or any occupied jail or prison, or any occupied church or occupied building owned or leased by a church that is immediately adjacent to a church, he shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for life or for any period not less than five years and, subject to subdivision g of § 18.2-10, a fine of not more than $100,000. Any person who maliciously sets fire to anything, or aids, counsels or procures the setting fire to anything, by the burning whereof such occupied dwelling house, manufactured home, hotel, hospital, mental health facility or other house, or railroad car, boat, vessel, or river craft, jail or prison, church or building owned or leased by a church that is immediately adjacent to a church, is burned shall be guilty of a violation of this subsection.
- Any such burning or destruction when the building or other place mentioned in subsection A is unoccupied shall be punishable as a Class 4 felony.”
18.2-78 – What not deemed dwelling house.
“No outhouse, not adjoining a dwelling house, nor under the same roof, although within the curtilage thereof, shall be deemed a part of such dwelling house, within the meaning of this chapter, unless some person usually lodges therein at night.”
What Is the Penalty for Being Convicted of Burning a Dwelling House?
- A maximum 5 years of imprisonment
- Fine of maximum $100,000
In case of a vacant house: Class 4 felony
- A fine of maximum $100,000
- A maximum 2-10 years of imprisonment