Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"Recklessness" state of mind added to arson law

With the July 4th holiday tomorrow, and the recent brush fires on Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii residents should be aware of recent changes made to the arson law. HB1158 was one of the first bills to be passed this session, signed into law and effective on April 9th as Act 11. The bill adds "recklessness" as a state of mind, in addition to "knowingly" or "intentionally", as a requirement for any person who commits the offense of arson in the fourth degree. In addition to other penalties imposed, if the act of arson amounts to 10,000 square feet or more of damaged property, the convicted person may be required to pay any costs related to extinguishing the fire, and to perform community service in the area where the fire was set. If the arsonist is a minor, the parents or legal guardian would be responsible for paying a percentage of the costs related to extinguishing the fire, regardless of whether the property is publicly or privately owned.

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