2C:17-1. Arson and related offenses

 

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; or 

 

(4) 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

 

(5) With the purpose of destroying or damaging any forest.

 

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; or 

 

(4) 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; or

 

(5) Thereby recklessly placing a forest in danger of damage or destruction. 

 

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 or offers to pay or accept any form of consideration including, but not limited to, money or any other pecuniary benefit, regardless of whether any consideration is actually exchanged 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 legal or equitable proprietary interest therein. Property is that of another for the purpose of this section, if anyone other than the actor has a legal or equitable interest in the property including, but not limited to, a mortgage, pledge, lien or security 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, "forest" means and includes any forest, brush land, grass land, salt marsh, wooded area and any combination thereof, including but not limited to, an open space area, public lands, wetlands, park lands, natural habitats, a State conservation area, a wildlife refuge area or any other designated undeveloped open space whether or not it is subject to specific protection under law.

 

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, that person commits a crime of the first degree and the sentence imposed shall include a term of imprisonment. The term of imprisonment shall include a minimum term of 15 years, 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. 

 

L.1978, c.95; amended 1979, c.178, s.29; 1981, c.290, s.16; 1991, c.498; 1997, c.108; 1997, c.109.

2C:17-2 Causing or risking widespread injury or damage.

 

2C:17-2. Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage.

 

a. (1) A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes an explosion, flood, avalanche, collapse of a building, release or abandonment of poison gas, radioactive material or any other harmful or destructive substance commits a crime of the second degree. A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes widespread injury or damage in any manner commits a crime of the second degree.

 

(2)A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes a hazardous discharge required to be reported pursuant to the "Spill Compensation and Control Act," P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.) or any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, or who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes a release or abandonment of hazardous waste as defined in section 1 of P.L.1976, c.99 (C.13:1E-38) or a toxic pollutant as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-3) commits a crime of the second degree. Any person who recklessly violates the provisions of this paragraph is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

 

b.A person who recklessly causes widespread injury or damage is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

 

c.A person who recklessly creates a risk of widespread injury or damage commits a crime of the fourth degree, even if no such injury or damage occurs. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the third degree if the risk of widespread injury or damage results from the reckless handling or storage of hazardous materials. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if the handling or storage of hazardous materials violated any law, rule or regulation intended to protect the public health and safety.

 

d.A person who knowingly or recklessly fails to take reasonable measures to prevent or mitigate widespread injury or damage commits a crime of the fourth degree, if:

 

(1)He knows that he is under an official, contractual or other legal duty to take such measures; or

 

(2)He did or assented to the act causing or threatening the injury or damage.

 

e.For purposes of this section, widespread injury or damage means serious bodily injury to five or more people or damage to five or more habitations or to a building which would normally have contained 25 or more persons at the time of the offense.

 

L.1978, c.95; amended 1979, c.178, s.29A; 1985, c.348, s.1; 1997, c.325, s.2; 2002, c.26, s.12.

2C:17-3 Criminal mischief.

 

2C:17-3. a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:

 

(1)Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or

 

(2)Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.

 

b.Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.

 

(2)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.

 

(3)Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term "physical disruption" does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility.

 

(4)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

 

(5)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

 

(6)Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.

 

(7)Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.

 

(8)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.

 

c.A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

 

d.As used in this section:

 

(1)"Act of graffiti" means the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.

 

(2)"Spray paint" means any paint or pigmented substance that is in an aerosol or similar spray container.

 

e.A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings, may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the damage or destruction.

 

L.1978, c.95; amended 1979, c.178, s.30; 1981, c.290, s.17; 1991, c.336, s.1, 1995, c.20, s.2; 1995, c.251, s.1; 1998, c.54, s.1; 1999, c.95, s.1; 2005,c.316,s.1; 2005,c.319,s.5.

2C:17-3.1 Traffic sign, signal damage, removal, violation.

 

3.A person who purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently defaces, injures or removes an official traffic sign or signal described in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. 

 

If a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a violation of this section is assessed a fine and the court determines that the juvenile is unable to pay the fine, the juvenile's parents or legal guardian shall be responsible for the imposed fine.

 

L.1998,c.54,s.3.

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