FAILURE TO CONTROL OR REPORT A DANGEROUS FIRE N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1c (fourth degree)
The indictment charges the defendant with failure to control or report a dangerous fire in violation of a statute which reads in pertinent part as follows:
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. . .if:
(1) He knows that he is under an official, contractual, or other legal duty to prevent or to 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.
In order for the defendant to be guilty of failure to control or report a dangerous fire, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The first element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant knew that a fire was endangering life or a substantial amount of property of another; and
2. The second element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant either (a) failed to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire, when he/she could have done so without substantial risk to himself/herself; or (b) failed to give prompt fire alarm; and
[SELECT APPROPRIATE SECTION OR SECTIONS]
3. The third element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that defendant knew that he/she was under an official, contractual or other legal duty to prevent or combat the fire;
3. The third element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the fire was started, albeit lawfully, by defendant or with his/her assent, or on property in his/her custody or
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Failure to Control or Report a Dangerous Fire
N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1c (fourth degree)
[CHARGE THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION IN ALL CASES]
A person acts knowingly with respect to the nature of his/her conduct or the attendant circumstances if he/she is aware that his/her conduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, or he/she is aware of a high probability of their existence. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of his/her conduct if he/she is aware that it is practically certain that his/her conduct will cause such a result. Knowledge is a condition of the mind that cannot be seen and can only be determined by inferences drawn from the defendants conduct, words or acts. It is not necessary for the State to prove the existence of such a mental state by direct evidence such as a statement by the defendant that he/she had particular knowledge. It is within the power of the jury to find that the proof of knowledge has been furnished beyond a reasonable doubt by inferences which you may draw from the nature of the acts and the circumstances surrounding the conduct of the defendant as they have been presented in the evidence you have heard and seen in this case.
If the State has failed to prove any of the elements as I have described them to you beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty of the crime of failure to control or report a dangerous fire. If the State has proven every element beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find defendant guilty of that crime.
Many of the concepts discussed in this charge, i.e., promptness of an alarm, reasonable measures to control a fire and official, contractual or other legal duty to prevent or combat a fire, will be highly fact-sensitive. If necessary, the Court should not hesitate to tailor this charge to better fit the facts before the jury.
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| Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea|
1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)
2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:
a. You will have a criminal record3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.
4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.
6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
9. You could be put on Probation.
10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your drivers license for 6 months - 2 years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.
11. You may be required to do Community Service.
12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.
14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
16. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.
Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:
If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.
NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.
2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;
If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500