Florida treats property crime seriously, arson in particular. If you are arrested under suspicion of committing arson in Clearwater, Florida, you should be expecting to face some serious consequences if you are convicted. These tough laws are in place so that the State of Florida can harshly punish arson offenders in order to deter others.
Due to this, it is absolutely crucial that you seek the aid of a skilled criminal defense lawyer to defend you. They could be the only thing stopping you from spending time in prison, paying giant fines, and getting a criminal record that could haunt you for a long time. Your Clearwater criminal defense attorney should be skilled and knowledgeable, with a number of successful cases like yours under their belt.
At The Law Place, we understand how serious the responsibility you are placing on us is, and we are ready to fight tooth and nail to show you that you made the right choice by hiring us. We have fought on both sides of the courtroom, and our team has clocked up nearly 75 years of experience collectively. We will fight to have your charges dropped, and if that is not possible, we will utilize all of our negotiating power to secure you a reduced sentence and lessened charges.
For no-obligation, unbiased advice, a free consultation, and a compassionate ear, call us immediately at (941) 444-4444. You can call at any hour of the day, and somebody will be here to help!
How Does the Law Define Arson?
Under Florida Statute 806.01, arson is defined as the willing and unlawful damage of a property through the use of fire or explosives. If the building had a high probability of containing human life, the charges are more severe in Clearwater, Florida.
Some common types of property that could be included are:
- Nursing homes.
- Health care facilities.
For buildings that do not typically contain a human being, the charges are generally lessened but are still very serious.
Potential Punishments for Committing Arson
Clearwater, Florida, has very severe laws when it comes to arson offenders. Of all the property crimes, none have the same stigma and punishment in place as arson. No matter what the scenario, you will be looking at a felony charge if you are convicted. Whether the felony is first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree will depend on the specifics of your crime, with the level increasing in relation to the possibility of human injury.
When arson is committed to a structure that has a very high chance of human residence, such as a house, tent, or trailer, a first-degree felony is extremely likely.
If the structure has a low chance of human residence and nobody is injured, a second-degree felony is the most likely result.
If an injury has occurred, there will usually be additional charges added to the original one. For a serious injury, there will be a first-degree misdemeanor added, and for a less serious injury, there will be a second-degree misdemeanor added.
First-degree felonies carry potential sentences of up to life in prison, with second-degree felonies carrying up to 30 years in Clearwater, Florida.
Additional Consequences of an Arson Conviction
It isn’t just jail time and huge fines that you should be worried about either. The long-reaching consequences of being convicted of a felony include:
- Low chance of employment.
- Low chance of loan or mortgage offers.
- Custody and visitation problems.
- A ban from obtaining certain licenses.
Potential Defenses Against Arson Charges
The first thing you should know is that for the highest chances of a successful defense, you need to get in touch with a law firm in Clearwater, Florida, at the earliest possible convenience. Your representation will have the best possible chance of building a quick and solid defense for you if you call as soon as possible after the arrest.
We may also be able to advise you on how to talk to the law enforcement involved who may be trying to coerce you into saying something that could be used against you in court.
In terms of your defense, there are a number of different angles we could take. In court, we might argue that:
- The fire was not started purposefully.
- The fire was started by someone else.
- The fire was started by an act of nature or electrical fault.
- The evidence used against you is incorrect, invalid, or was obtained unlawfully.
Questions You Should Always Ask Before Agreeing to Representation
Placing the fate of your life into the hands of another person is a nerve-wracking leap of faith. Everyone will tell you that you need to do your research and compare each potential law firm to find the best one. We agree with this. Here at The Law Place, we know that we can offer an incredible level of skill and expertise when it comes to criminal defense. With our years of experience, here are the questions we believe you should ask your potential criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to representation:
- Have you handled cases that are similar to mine?
- Have you won cases similar to mine?
- How many trials with a jury have you litigated?
- What is your record for working out plea agreements?
- What are your fees? Can I pay them in monthly installments if they end up being larger than expected?
- Can you provide me with references?
Whilst the first questions are important, the last one, in particular, is imperative. Any law firm worth their salt in Clearwater, Florida, will provide you with previous client testimonials and reviews from happy clients that they have won successful outcomes for. If they are not willing to give you this, then stay well clear of them.
Contact The Law Place Today
This could be the most important decision you ever make, and we understand that. Here at The Law Place, we have a huge amount of experience that adds up to nearly 75 years in the courtroom, defending and opposing clients just like you. This gives us a vast wealth of knowledge and ability. Each and every member of our team is competent and compassionate, and by hiring us, you get the combined power of a team of attorneys who excel at what they do.
If you are scared and unsure, give us a call, we will be able to give you unbiased and clear legal advice from a place of clarity. If you feel confident in us after that call, you can arrange a free consultation.
Our team is here, ready to fight, stand up for your rights, and seek the best possible results on your behalf. Make sure you go into the courtroom with confidence and an attorney you believe in at your back.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444.