Setting fire nothing burned down

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Setting fire nothing burned down

I’m a photographer and I was trying to take a picture with a client while holding a burning newspaper on

the rooftop of an apartment building. I don’t think there were any cameras up there but now I’m paranoid that I will get charged with arson and go to prison. We did it twice and it did not work correctly so we put the fire out and disposed of this pieces. Can somebody tell me if this was recorded, will I go to jail even though nothing was harmed?

Asked on June 7, 2019 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The issue is not damage--to attempt to commit arson is a crime, even if you don't succeed or damage anything--but rather  whether the evidence (e.g. if there was security camera footage) shows that you had a criminal intent, or intention to burn another's property (e.g. set the building on fire). If it is clear that you were not trying to set the property on fire, then you would not face arson charges. 


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