A serious fire is one of the scariest things that can happen. They can rip through flammable materials, spreading quickly and uncontrollably if firefighters aren’t called to the scene in time. Fires can cause widespread devastation for all parties involved, resulting in potentially millions of dollars in damage if left unchecked.
When someone intentionally and illegally causes a fire that damages a house or business, they can be charged with arson. Arson is an extremely serious crime in the United States. It is one of the worst criminal charges someone can face, and the penalties for it in Florida are especially severe. Being convicted can result in thousands in fines and years in prison, stripping many people of the ability to lead a normal life ever again.
If you have been charged with arson in Bradenton, FL., you need to contact a lawyer as soon as you can to start aggressively defending your rights and freedom. Prosecutors will often resort to underhanded tactics to get a conviction, and a qualified attorney could be the only thing standing between you and prison time.
The Law Place has the resources and experience necessary to aggressively defend you against a felony arson charge. We offer a free consultation with a lawyer from our firm so you know all the options available to you and how we will go about defending your case.
Call The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444.
What Is First-Degree Arson in Florida?
According to Florida Statute 806.01, when someone intentionally and unlawfully damages a structure or dwelling with fire or explosion when they reasonably should have known people were present, they have committed arson in the first degree. In other words, first-degree arson is willfully setting fire to a home at any time, or a business or other type of building during hours when it is normally occupied by people.
For example, a Florida bank is set on fire by someone at 10 AM on a Friday, a time where workers and clients would normally be present. In another example, a suburban home is set on fire at a time when everyone who lives there would normally be out of the house. In both cases, the perpetrators can be charged with arson in the first degree.
A dwelling is defined as a structure that is or is designed to be used by people as a place of residence. This means that any building, like an apartment or house that is meant to be lived in by an individual or a family, is considered a dwelling. Any fire intentionally set to a dwelling is grounds for a first-degree arson charge.
Also, properties that have been built and are for sale but not yet occupied are defined as dwellings. Even if the structure has been for sale for years and uninhabited that whole time, any intentional fire that damages the building qualifies as first-degree arson.
If you have been arrested and charged with first-degree arson, you need to contact The Law Place to get qualified legal help immediately. In Bradenton, the consequences for arson are severe, and without a good defense strategy, you risk being imprisoned for years.
For a free legal consultation with a arson in the first degree lawyer serving Bradenton, call 941-444-4444
Can I Be Charged With Arson in Florida Even if the Fire Was Unintentional?
A key part of any arson charge is the fact that the fire was set intentionally. If you accidentally caused fire damage to a structure or dwelling, you cannot be charged with arson.
However, accidental fires caused during another felony crime can be charged as arson, even if they were unintentional.
For example, if someone commits a burglary and knocks over a candle, causing a fire that destroys the house, they can be charged with arson in the first-degree. Any felony crime where a fire was set can have an arson charge tacked onto the prosecution’s case.
The Law Place has experience handling the complexities of multiple felony charges in various practice fields. If you were arrested for a felony crime and subsequently charged with arson for a fire that was started accidentally, contact us today to find out your legal options.
Bradenton Arson in the First Degree Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
What Is the Difference Between First and Second-Degree Arson in Florida?
Essentially, the definition of first-degree felony arson only applies to dwelling or structures where there would normally be people present at the time of the fire or explosion. If any other type of structure is set ablaze, the perpetrator has committed second-degree felony arson. This also applies to individuals setting fire to their own property without authorization from relevant authorities.
For example, a fire is set to an abandoned shop that is not for sale and has no one inside. The perpetrator can be charged with the crime of second-degree felony arson, not arson in the first-degree.
There are different penalties available for first and second-degree arson charges. If you have been charged with arson and are unsure what punishments you could potentially face if you are convicted, contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation with a lawyer from our firm. They will explain all of the charges against you and give you a realistic expectation of what penalties a judge may sentence you to.
What Are the Penalties for First-Degree Arson in Florida?
The available penalties for first, second, and third-degree felonies are listed in Florida Statutes 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084. For first-degree felony arson, you could face the following if you are found guilty at trial:
- Up to 30 years in prison.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
- Permanent criminal record.
- Probation for the remainder of your natural life.
Arson in the first-degree is one of the most serious criminal offenses anyone can be charged with. If you have been charged with any first-degree felony crime, you need to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney from The Law Place as soon as possible. Your freedom depends on it.
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What Are the Penalties for Second-Degree Arson in Florida?
Although second-degree arson is less serious than a first-degree charge, the penalties are still extremely severe. You could face the following if you are found guilty at trial:
- Up to 15 years in prison.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
- Permanent criminal record.
- Up to 15 years of probation.
If you have been charged with any second-degree felony crime, you need to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney from The Law Place as soon as you can.
What Is the Burden of Proof for a First or Second-Degree Felony Arson Charge in Florida?
To legitimately bring forward felony arson charges, the state’s prosecution team must prove two key elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Prosecutors must prove that:
- The fire or explosion was caused willfully and illegally.
- The identity of the defendant is undoubtedly the one who caused the fire or explosion.
If the police and prosecution cannot prove these two key elements of any arson investigation, then they cannot arrest or bring charges against people suspected of committing arson. They must support their findings with physical evidence, witness testimony, and the results of a police investigation into the whereabouts and motivation of the suspect or suspects in question.
Unfortunately, law enforcement and prosecutor’s offices will often use circumstantial evidence to back their claims. The defense team must reject these arguments in court to have them ruled inadmissible. If you’re worried that the case against you is built on illegitimate evidence, contact The Law Place to have a qualified arson lawyer aggressively fight on your behalf.
What Can a Bradenton Arson Attorney Do for Me?
There are several ways The Law Place can defend our clients from a felony arson charge. Your lawyer and their supporting team may employ the following defense strategies to reach a not guilty verdict or have the charges against you dismissed, dropped, or reduced:
- Attacking the credibility of expert witnesses.
- Introducing opposing expert witnesses.
- Challenging the police’s investigative procedure.
- Arguing our client’s alibi for the event.
- Challenging the validity of the physical evidence presented.
- Showing our client had a lack of intent.
- Showing our client had a lack of motivation.
- Evidencing an alternative suspect for the fire or explosion.
While some of these defense strategies might not fit the unique requirements of your case, your lawyer will do everything in their power to come up with the best way to fight the prosecution’s charges against you. Even if you don’t think anyone can help, call The Law Place and to find out what we can do for you at no-obligation and free of charge.
Contact The Law Place Criminal Defense Lawyers Today!
Have you been charged with arson in the first or second-degree in Florida? Are you afraid of prison time and the thousands of dollars in fines you could face if you’re convicted?
Contact The Law Place today to discuss your rights and legal options. We have over 75 years of combined experience representing arson suspects across the State of Florida. Every case is unique, and we can offer a thorough and varied approach to the prosecution’s case against you. Our phone lines are available 24/7, so speak with a representative and schedule your free consultation with a qualified criminal defense lawyer today.
Start protecting your rights and your freedom from an arson charge with the best law firm in Bradenton, Florida.
Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.