In Fort Myers, FL., arson is considered an extremely serious crime. Those that are convicted of arson often face severe punishments. These punishments range from extortionate fines, a criminal record that could affect you for the rest of your life, and a lengthy amount of time spent behind bars.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of arson, then you should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. A highly skilled Fort Myers criminal defense lawyer could be the only thing that stands between you and prison.
At The Law Place, we understand that these penalties can have a devastating effect on your life, and we want to fight to minimize your punishments as best as we can. Our team of attorneys has an abundance of experience in dealing with arson cases like yours and will be on hand to offer help and support every step of the way.
Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 and arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
The Definition of Arson
According to Florida Law Statue 806.01, arson can be defined as any person who willfully or unlawfully damages property using fire or explosives. Specifically, a structure is defined as a building of any kind or an enclosed area with a roof over it. This could include a tent or other portable buildings, any vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or watercraft.
Some common types of property that may be damaged are:
- Schools and other educational centers.
- Hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
- Nursing homes or care homes.
- Churches or places of worship.
For buildings that do not usually contain people, the charges are generally lessened. The more serious arson charges are for the fire and the damage done to the property.
What Damages and Injuries Are Associated With Arson?
Committing an act of arson will more often than not result in damages to both property and people. The extent of the damages caused will depend on the specifics of the arson attack. For example, an arson attack on a tent with no one inside will leave far fewer damages than a hospital filled with hundreds of people. Some of the most common damages associated with arson are:
- Structural damage to the property.
- Smoke damage to the property. This can cause discoloration of the walls/ surfaces and corrosion/ etching of glass.
- Loss of personal property.
- Lung damage due to smoke inhalation.
- First, second, and third-degree burns, cuts, or lacerations.
- Emotional distress and trauma.
- Wrongful death.
What Penalties And Punishments Can You Face By Committing Arson?
Fort Myers, FL., treats arson as an extremely serious crime. It is viewed as possibly one of the most serious offenses against the law that you can commit. Arson is always treated as a felony. The type of felony that it can be classified as will depend on the circumstances and specific details of the crime. These details may vary from looking at the type of structure that was damaged, to whether any injuries or loss of life occurred as a result of the act.
If someone has been injured as a result of the arson, then the courts are within their rights to charge you for additional criminal acts. For example, a minor injury or arson on a property such as a house or a caravan usually adds a first-degree misdemeanor. For a serious injury or arson on any other types of property, a second-degree classification will be issued.
First-degree felonies can result in a lifetime in prison, and a second-degree felony can leave you with 30 years behind bars. In addition, considerable fines will also be issued as well as a criminal record.
We understand how serious these penalties are and how much they can impact your life both mentally and financially. At The Law Place in Fort Myers, all our lawyers are committed to developing a positive attorney-client relationship and will work with you to minimize any penalties in the best way that they can.
Additional Consequences of an Arson Conviction
In addition to fines, jail time, and a criminal record, there are other consequences that you may face as a result of your crime. These may include:
- Difficulty in applying for mortgages, loans, or rent agreements.
- Difficulty in applying for types of finance, such as a loan or overdraft.
- Difficulty finding employment. Many job roles won’t accept a candidate who has a criminal record.
- Difficulty continuing an education.
- Difficulty seeking certain licenses.
- Difficulty seeking visitation or custody rights to see your children.
Many of these consequences are long-lasting, and you could be left dealing with them long after you have served your sentence.
Defending Against Arson Charges
From the moment you are arrested on suspicion of arson, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney. The sooner you seek advice from an attorney, the greater your chances of a strong defense. A Fort Myers criminal attorney will be able to investigate your case straight away and will work to reduce any charges brought against you. If you seek legal advice in an efficient time, you will find that the chances of having your charges dropped or reduced increase greatly.
There are numerous possibilities when it comes to potential defenses. A criminal defense lawyer could argue that:
- The fire was started accidentally.
- The source of the fire was not due to an individual’s actions but, in fact, due to an act of nature or an electrical problem.
- You have been falsely accused of starting the fire.
- You have been arrested under a mistaken identity.
- The prosecution’s evidence could be invalid or insufficient to prove guilt.
How Can a Criminal Defence Attorney Help You?
When choosing the best possible criminal defense attorney to defend you, it is important to carry out research to assess whether the company can offer you the right support. It could be one of the most important decisions of your life, and ultimately your decision could be the difference between jail time and a heavy fine.
At The Law Place, we believe it is key to ask a series of questions to any potential attorney that wants to defend your case to ensure you feel confident that they can support you in any way possible and defend your case wholeheartedly. Some of the questions you could ask are:
- Have you dealt with arson cases similar to mine before? If so, have you been successful and won those cases?
- How many trials with a jury have you litigated?
- What are your fees? And do you offer any payment plans?
- Can you provide me with references and client testimonials?
Receiving answers to all of these questions will help in finalizing your decision and ensure you choose the right criminal defense attorney in Fort Myers to represent you.
Speak to The Law Place Today
At The Law Place, our team of attorneys has over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases like yours. We are fully committed to our clients and will do everything in our power to try and reduce the charges that have been brought against you.
We offer all our customers a free consultation, where we will find out more information about your claim and assess its legitimacy. At this stage, we would also offer some free no-obligation advice and discuss what the next steps would be if you wished to proceed with your case. At this point, if you decide not to utilize our law firm, then that is fine.
Alternatively, if you would like to pursue your case with us, then we would arrange a second consultation. In this consultation, we would explore your case in more detail and establish the ways in which we could support you. From this point, a Fort Myers criminal defense lawyer would take over your case on your behalf, minimizing stress, and increasing the chances of reduced penalties.
All of our lawyers in Fort Myers work on a contingency basis, meaning that you won’t have to pay any upfront costs. Contingency work is monitored by the State Bar Association, who set limits on what a Fort Myers criminal defense attorney can charge. At The Law Place, only once you win your case and receive a settlement will legal fees be deducted. This means that if your case is unsuccessful, then you won’t have to worry about paying anything.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so you can contact us whenever you need it. Call us today on (941) 444-4444 and get started with your claim.