Ohio Arson Statute

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Ohio Arson Statute

Ohio Law on Vacant Structures and Owners Consent
 
In summary, this new law in Ohio accomplishes the following, eliminates lack of the property owner's consent as an element of arson when the property is not an occupied structure and to make the consent of the owner of a structure that is not an occupied structure an affirmative defense.
 
If an incendiary fire occurs within a vacant structure, the authorities/prosecution will no longer have to track down the property owner (often an absentee, out-of-state property owner) to confirm that the fire was started without their consent in order to obtain charges against the suspected arsonist. The suspected arsonist has an affirmative defense to the charges if they can prove that they acted with the consent of the property owner. This shifts the burden of tracking down the property owner to the defense.

The bill was signed into law, with an effective date of March 21, 2017. You can see the final version of the Ohio Revised Code sections at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA131-HB-185