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Burning Questions | Understanding The Four Degrees Of Arson In Oklahoma

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | Arson

Oklahoma law categorizes arson into four degrees, all of which are felonies. Additionally, Oklahoma has laws that make certain actions associated with arson illegal. Tulsa criminal attorney Stephen Cale explains.

The following is for educational purposes only, is not legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Laws change often and you should consult an attorney.  If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314 for a free initial consultation. Or, contact us through the web.


First degree arson typically falls into one of four scenarios:

1. Setting fire to a building, or its contents, where people live or occupy.

2. Setting fire to a building, or its contents, where people live or occupy, while involved in the illegal drug manufacturing process.

3. Deliberately igniting a fire that harms an individual.

4. Intentionally causing another person to suffer burns through an explosive device, an accelerant, an ignition device, a heat-producing device, or a substance.

The penalty for first degree arson can be a prison term of up to 35 years and a fine of up to $25,000. Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1401.


Second degree arson shares similarities with first degree arson, but it involves a building that is not currently inhabited or occupied. The punishment for second degree arson can lead to a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and a fine of up to $20,000. Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1402.


Third degree arson includes two distinct situations. The first involves the deliberate burning of real or personal property valued at $50 or more. This encompasses various types of property such as automobiles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, boats, standing farm crops, pasture lands, and forest lands. The second situation pertains to the intentional burning of any real or personal property with the aim of deceiving an insurer. Third degree arson is classified as a felony and can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.  Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1403.


Essentially, fourth degree arson encompasses attempted first, second, or third degree arson. It also includes arranging flammable or combustible materials with the eventual intent to set fire to real or personal property. Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1404.


Oklahoma prohibits endangering an individual’s life during the commission of any form of arson. Typically, this offense carries a penalty of three to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the arson leads to personal injury, the punishment can extend to up to seven years in prison. Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1405.


Oklahoma law mandates the automatic disqualification of any person with a conviction or deferred sentence for any type of arson from becoming a firefighter. Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1406.