The Crime

Arson is a felony offense that can seriously damage your record and your reputation. In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Arson if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knowingly damaged any structure or farm equipment by means of fire or explosion:

  1. Without the consent of all persons who have a possessory, proprietary, or security interest in the structure; or
  2. With intent to destroy or damage any structure to collect insurance for the damage or destruction or for any unlawful purpose.

The crime is elevated to Aggravated Arson if the person committed Arson as described above when:

  1. One or more persons were present in the structure; or
  2. Any person, including firefighters and law enforcement officials, suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the fire or explosion.

The Tennessee crime of Arson includes additional factors and elements not discussed on this page. If you have been charged with the crime of Arson, you should contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Oberman & Rice Law Firm.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-14-301, 39-14-302]

The Penalties

Under Tennessee law, a conviction for Arson is a Class C Felony and may result in some or all of the following consequences:

  1. A sentence of 3 to15 years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $10,000;and
  4. Court costs.

However, if the arson is committed at a place of worship, the offense is a Class B Felony and may result in some or all of the following consequences:

  1. A sentence of8to 30years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $25,000;and
  4. Court costs.

If convicted of Aggravated Arson, the crime is elevated to a Class A Felony and may result in some or all of the following consequences:

  1. A sentence of 15 to 60 years in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $50,000;and
  4. Court costs.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-14-301, 39-14-302]

Other Consequences of an Arson Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties, a person convicted of Arson may also experience other serious consequences. A Tennessee Arson conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution. A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment and may result in negative action to a professional license (e.g. nursing).

Furthermore, a conviction for Arson will ALWAYS stay on a person’s criminal history. Under current Tennessee criminal and expungement law you may not erase or expunge an Arson conviction from public record. For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website,

Why Hire An Attorney Immediately?

It is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible. Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest is made.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know has recently been charged with arson, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville Arson attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.

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