In Florida, arson is one of the most serious crimes anyone can be charged with. When someone intentionally sets fire to a home or business, they can be charged with first-degree arson. This is the most severe form of arson and can result in decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If the fire occurred while another crime was allegedly committed, the suspect could be put away for life.
Police and prosecutors often resort to illegitimate evidence to back their charges against arson defendants. Expert witness testimony, physical evidence, and timelines of the event must be adequately contested in court. To do so, arson defendants need top legal representation who will defend their interests.
If you have been charged with arson in Port Charlotte, Florida, contact us today to find out your options. The Law Place offers the best legal advice on the market and an exceptional attorney-client relationship. With over 75 years of combined experience, your criminal defense attorney will have the best support team imaginable. While we know that this is probably one of the most trying times of your life, you can rest easy knowing your criminal defense is in excellent hands.
Don’t wait. You need to start protecting your rights and your freedom today.
Contact The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444.
Florida Arson in the First Degree
Florida Statute 806.01 defines arson as willfully and unlawfully damaging a structure or dwelling by fire or explosion during times when people are reasonably known to be present. Essentially, intentionally setting fire to a house at any time of day or a business or facility during regular business hours is arson, a felony in the first degree.
For example, a house is intentionally set on fire on a Tuesday at noon, a time when the occupants would reasonably be out. In another example, a fishing shop is set on fire at the same time. In both cases, the person or persons responsible for the fires can be charged with arson in the first degree.
Arson charges use terms like “dwelling” and “structure” frequently. A structure can be understood as any building or real property that has a roof. A dwelling is any structure that is meant to be occupied by people at night.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for intentionally setting fire to a home, business, or another type of property, you need to get legal representation as soon as possible. Contact The Law Place to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified Florida attorneys to find out what we can do for you.
For a free legal consultation with a arson in the first degree lawyer serving Port Charlotte, call 941-444-4444
Difference Between First- and Second-Degree Felony Arson in Florida
While first-degree arson charges are brought against individuals who intentionally set fire to dwellings or structure where people would normally be present, second-degree arson deals with fires set to any other type of structure or property. This also deals with individuals who set fire to their own home or property without relevant government authorization.
For example, second-degree arson charges can be brought against someone who sets fire to an abandoned surf shack. The key difference is that no one would be reasonably present at the time of the fire. This also applies to businesses that are not in operation.
Anyone found guilty of either type of felony can face severe consequences. Contact a Florida defense attorney to find out more about the charges against you.
Port Charlotte Arson in the First Degree Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
What if the Fire Was Unintentional?
Arson charges in Florida explicitly deal with intentional and illegal fires and explosions. If you accidentally set fire to a property where people were present, you can’t be charged with arson. You may be charged with another crime, but prosecutors cannot bring arson charges against you.
However, if a fire was accidentally set during the commission of another crime, suspects can still be charged with felony arson. For example, if someone burglarized a property and knocked over a candle, setting fire to the structure, they can be charged with arson.
Even if the fire was unintentional, Florida prosecutors might try to prove that it was. Contact The Law Place today to prepare your defense against illegitimate criminal charges.
Penalties for First- and Second-Degree Arson in Florida
- Maximum 30 years in prison.
- Fines up to $10,000.
- Permanent criminal record.
- Life-long probation.
- Maximum 15 years in prison.
- Fines up to $10,000.
- Permanent criminal record.
- Probation for up to 15 years.
Arson in the first and second degrees are some of the most serious charges anyone can face. If you’re convicted, there is a distinct possibility that you will never be able to return to your normal life.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with arson, you need to contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Place will start strategizing your defense immediately and represent you in any police interrogations and court dates. Contact us today to get the best legal advice available in Florida.
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Burden of Proof for an Arson Charge in Florida
The prosecution in any arson case has two key elements that they must prove to the court:
- Intent – The defendant willingly and illegally set fire to the property.
- Identity – The defendant was the perpetrator of the fire or explosion.
Any assertion of guilt must be supported by physical evidence, witness testimony, and evidence of the defendant’s motivation to commit the crime.
If the prosecution is unable to prove this, they cannot bring charges against suspects of arson. Similarly, if the police do not have the prosecutor’s approval, they cannot arrest arson suspects unless they are caught in the act.
Unfortunately, it is far too common that prosecutors and police rely on circumstantial evidence to justify their case. Your criminal defense attorney must be prepared to combat any illegitimate evidence and be able to attack the prosecution’s case from multiple angles.
What Can a Port Charlotte, Florida Arson Attorney Do for My Case?
A qualified Florida criminal defense lawyer can pursue your defense in several ways. This can include:
- Contesting the findings of the prosecutor’s expert witnesses.
- Presenting opposing expert witnesses that support the defendant’s innocence.
- Challenging the legitimacy of the police investigation.
- Presenting a legitimate alibi for the arson.
- Arguing that the prosecution’s physical evidence is illegitimate.
- Disproving any assertion of the defendant’s intent to commit arson.
- Disproving the defendant’s motivation to commit arson.
- Presenting an alternative suspect for the arson investigation.
Every arson case is unique, and not all of these defense strategies will work. The Law Place will pursue the strongest defense strategy for your case based on the facts available. Your criminal defense will be in excellent hands.
Contact The Law Place Florida Arson Attorneys Today!
Have you been arrested and charged with arson in the first or second degree? Are you afraid that you could face years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines?
Contact The Law Place Florida arson lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We guarantee that our team will aggressively defend you in every way possible. We have over 75 years of experience representing clients across the State of Florida against serious arson charges, and our firm offers an unparalleled attorney-client relationship across all our offices.
Arson is an extremely serious charge. You need an extremely serious law firm to defend your rights and your freedom.
Call The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444.