Arson is viewed and treated as an incredibly serious crime in Sarasota and all over Florida. Because of this, anyone who is convicted of arson should expect to receive steep penalties that may impact the rest of their lives, including but not limited to a criminal record, excessive fines, and extensive jail times. These penalties will, of course, depend entirely on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Including how badly destroyed the property was and how severely injured any victims were. However, a defendant should not expect to be treated leniently by the court.
Because of the harsh penalties, if you are charged with arson, then it is highly recommended that you contact a Sarasota law firm immediately to help you through the process. A Sarasota criminal defense lawyer will be able to build a strong defense against the prosecution’s case and will give you the best chance at securing the outcome that you are hoping for. All of our criminal defense lawyers have plenty of experience at dealing with the Florida legal system and, in particular, helping people who are being charged with arson, just like you. Because of this, you can trust that our attorneys will be able to provide you with dependable and insightful legal advice.
Our phone lines are available 24/7, so call us now to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Sarasota-based attorneys. Contact us at (941) 444-4444.
What Is Arson Under Florida Law?
As is defined in Florida Statute 806.01, arson is where a person “willfully or unlawfully” causes damage to property or injures someone through the use of fire or an explosion. This is a very serious offense in Sarasota, FL. If you are found guilty of arson, you will be facing serious penalties. Therefore, defendants should take being charged with arson seriously and should contact the Sarasota Arson lawyer immediately to receive legal advice and guidance.
According to the law stated above, some types of property that are commonly damaged in arson cases are:
- Places of worship, such as churches or mosques.
- Schools and similar education centers.
- Hospitals and similar healthcare centers, including nursing homes and care homes.
A building or an enclosed area with a roof over it is classed as a structure and, if damaged in the act of arson, will result in the person convicted facing serious penalties. This can even include a tent, a vehicle, and more.
For the most part, charges are often higher and more serious if the building that was destroyed usually contains people. As well as this, the more damage that is done to the property and the more injured anyone involved is, the more serious the charges.
If you have been charged with criminal mischief or arson in Sarasota, then you need to contact The Law Place. Our criminal defense attorneys will do everything in their power to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. Call us as soon as possible, as the sooner you enlist in our help, the sooner our lawyers will be able to build a strong case to defend you.
What Are the Three Elements of Arson?
When the prosecution is building a case against someone accused of arson in Sarasota, they must be able to clearly establish three elements of the crime that was committed; else they will not have a successful case. These elements are as follows:
- The defendant either triggered a fire or an explosion while committing a felony, or they started the fire or explosion willfully and unlawfully.
- The fire or explosion damaged a dwelling, structure, or the belongings inside of a structure that is usually occupied by people, or a structure that the defendant knew or should have known was occupied, or even if the structure was merely owned by the defendant.
- The fire or explosion resulted in someone suffering from bodily injury or serious bodily injury, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
The prosecution is required to prove that the defendant purposely started a fire or an explosion, that they knew or should have known that this fire could damage property or put someone at risk, and that the property was then damaged and a person sustained an injury.
In many cases, this can be a very simple requirement for the prosecution and easily achieved by them. Because of this, it is imperative that you get in touch with The Law Place to enlist the help of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. Our team of attorneys has a combined 75 years of experience in defending people just like you, and so you can rely on their advice and guidance. Your lawyer will be dedicated to your case and has the skills and knowledge required to fight for your case to be reduced or dismissed, for you to win your case, or for you to receive only the lightest sentence and penalties possible.
What Damages and Injuries Are Commonly Caused by Arson?
Committing arson will often end up damaging property and injuring victims, although the extent of such depends entirely on the specifics of the attack and circumstances surrounding it. A big example of this is how a tent set on fire in an arson attack will injure fewer people and leave fewer damages than if a school filled with hundreds of children was attacked. Despite the various damages caused based on each individual case, there are a few damages that are commonly caused in many cases:
- Structural damage to the property involved.
- Smoke damages to the property involved, such as etching of glass, discoloration of any surfaces and walls, and corrosion.
- Destruction and loss of personal property.
There are also some injuries that are commonly caused by arson attacks:
- Lung damage caused by excessive smoke inhalation.
- Burns, cuts, lacerations, or scarring.
- Emotional distress and lasting psychological trauma.
- Wrongful death.
What Penalties Could You Be Facing for Committing an Arson Attack in Sarasota, FL?
Like all types of misdemeanors and felonies, every arson case will receive various penalties that are entirely dependent on the specific circumstances of said case. However, there are a few guidelines that are followed by the courts in Sarasota. These are listed below:
- Arson resulting in bodily harm – As this is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, if you are charged with this, you would be facing a fine of up to $500 and a prison sentence of up to one year, amongst other potential penalties.
- Arson resulting in severe bodily harm – This is a second-degree felony, and so if you’re facing these charges, you could be looking at a jail sentence of up to 15 years and a fine up to $10,000, as this offense is so much more serious than arson resulting in bodily harm.
- Arson committed by someone with a criminal record – If you already have been convicted of at least two prior felonies, then under the Florida Statute 775.084, you may be facing harsher penalties if you are also then convicted of arson resulting in injury.
The penalties you face for committing arson resulting in bodily harm are undeniably steep and can have a huge impact on your life and future. Because of the extremity of the penalties, our Sarasota criminal defense attorneys want to help you fight your case to avoid them. The lawyers at The Law Place all possess the experience, knowledge, and skill required to build a defense for you and fight your case. You can trust that by contacting us, you’ll be enlisting in the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will be completely dedicated to your case and work tirelessly to minimize the impact that this charge has on you. So call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Additional Consequences of an Arson Conviction
However, it isn’t just jail time, fines, and a criminal record that you will be facing if convicted of an arson charge. As well as those penalties, you may also experience:
- Difficulty when searching for employment, as many employers will not offer a job to candidates with criminal records.
- Difficulty to continue education, particularly when applying for college or scholarships.
- Difficulty when applying for any type of finance, such as an overdraft or a loan.
- Difficulty when applying for rent agreements or mortgages.
- Difficulty if you are seeking visitation or custody rights over your children.
- Difficulty when seeking certain licenses.
As your criminal record lasts forever, these consequences are long-lasting and likely to affect you for the rest of your life, even after you have finished serving your sentence.
How a Lawyer Could Defend You in Court in Sarasota, FL.
It should be stressed that all arson cases are different. Because of this, your criminal defense attorney will be required to build an individual defense based around the specifics of your case, in order to increase the chances of a successful outcome. However, some of the most common defense articles that will likely be considered for your case are listed below:
- Lack of intent – The prosecution must be able to successfully prove to the court that you fully intended to cause damage through the use of fire or an explosion, with no regard for life or property. If they fail at this, you will not be convicted of a first-degree felony. Your lawyer may be able to present evidence that will prove that you didn’t intend this and that the fire was actually an accident.
- Accidental damage – It may be possible for your attorney to present evidence that suggests you didn’t intend for anyone to be injured or for any property to be damaged as a result of the fire that you deliberately started.
- Complete innocence – If you have an alibi, your attorney would have a chance at arguing that this is a case of mistaken identity and that you were not involved in the arson attack at all.
- Incorrect forensic evidence – Your attorney may be able to present evidence that proves that the forensic analysis used by the prosecution was actually incorrect and/or biased.
If you enlist in the help of the criminal defense lawyers at The Law Place, you should feel assured that our lawyers will dedicate themselves to your case and prioritize fighting on your behalf. Our Sarasota attorneys will gather their own evidence to help strengthen your defense and will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, in case any of your rights were violated. Our team of attorneys will question the legitimacy and accuracy of the evidence that the prosecution brings against you, aiming to get your charges dismissed or reduced. So contact us today to book a free consultation with a skilled and experienced lawyer.
How Could a Criminal Defence Lawyer Help You?
We understand how important this case and the result of it is to you, and so we recommend that you research every law firm to ensure that you receive help and the right support from the best criminal defense lawyer possible. If not, your decision could ultimately land you in jail.
The Law Place believes that it is crucial that you ask as many questions as you wish to any lawyer who may want to defend your case. This way, you will be able to feel confident in their ability to support and defend you. Some of the questions that we would advise you to ask are as follows:
- How many arson cases have you dealt with before that are similar to mine? If you have, what were the outcomes of those cases?
- How experienced are you in litigating trials with a jury?
- Would you be able to provide me with any references or client testimonials?
- What are your fees, and do you offer any payment plans?
Once you have received the answers to all of these questions and any more you may have, you should hopefully be able to choose the right Sarasota-based criminal defense attorney to represent you! In order to speak to our lawyers at The Law Place, call us today to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Place
If you have been charged with arson, whether it’s a first-degree misdemeanor, second-degree felony, or anything in between, then you need to contact a criminal defense attorney for a free consultation. The results of a conviction will follow you for the rest of your life, and so it is important that you call The Law Place for help now. Our criminal defense lawyers are prepared to present a carefully thought out case to ensure that you have the best chance at receiving a positive outcome.
So, contact The Law Place to book a free consultation at (941) 444-4444!