The defendant is charged with arson in the first/second/third/fourth degree of [Describe Premises, Property, etc.], located at [Address or Location], [Name of County] County, Oklahoma, on [Date].

Committee Comments

This instruction is meant for use with the arson crimes set forth in sections 1401 through 1404 of Title 21. It is an introductory instruction, intended to inform the jury simply and straightforwardly of the crime with which the defendant is charged and the relevant facts from the information.

The introductory instruction does not indicate who owned, occupied, or possessed the premises burned because the statutory language indicates that the accused can be guilty of arson with respect to premises owned, occupied, or possessed by himself. Cf. Clemens v. State, 17 Okl. Cr. 274, 187 P. 1100 (1920) (conviction for second-degree arson affirmed even though accused occupied building burned.)

Nor does the instruction indicate the time of day at which the crime occurred, because the current statutes do not distinguish between daytime and nighttime. Historically, the crime of arson could be committed at any time, day or night. However, under the arson statutes, sections 1381 through 1392 of Title 21, which were repealed in 1967, whether the burning occurred during the day or at night was important as a distinction among the degrees of arson.

(2000 Supp.)