Arson is an extremely serious crime with harsh penalties in the state of Florida. When arson results in the injury of another person—including those first responders who arrive at the fire or explosion—the penalties are even harsher. Under Florida Statutes, Section 806.031, the crime of arson occurs when a person causes a fire or explosion in a dwelling or structure, resulting in injury to another person—even if there was no intent to harm that person. In order to prove the crime of Arson Resulting in Injury, the prosecution must establish these three elements of the crime:
- You willfully and unlawfully instigated an explosion or a fire or, while you were engaged in the commission of a felony you triggered an explosion or a fire;
- The fire or explosion you were responsible for damaged:
- a dwelling (occupied or non-occupied);
- a structure or the contents of a structure in which people are normally present at the time of the explosion or fire;
- a structure that you knew—or should have known—would be occupied at the time of the explosion or fire, or
- a structure owned by yourself with circumstances other than those listed above.
- As a result of the explosion or fire, another human being suffered permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, bodily injury or severe bodily injury.
Common Instances of Arson Resulting in Injury
There are obvious instances of Arson Resulting in Injury, however there are some less obvious instances which would still be charged under the same statute, such as:
- You could have intentionally started a fire in order to collect insurance, and a firefighter was injured while attempting to put out the fire;
- You could have intentionally set a fire in a home, church or other building you thought was unoccupied at a time, however someone inside the structure was injured as a result of the fire;
- You could have intentionally set a fire in an unoccupied building, causing one of the firefighters to suffer injury while fighting the fire; or
- You could have intentionally caused a forest fire, and a camper in the forest was overcome by smoke inhalation and was severely injured or died as a result.
Penalties You Could Be Subject To if You are Convicted of Arson Resulting in Injury
If you are convicted of the crime of Arson Resulting in Injury, you could face the following penalties (depending on the circumstances surrounding your offense):
- For Arson Resulting in Injury that causes bodily harm, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, and, if found guilty, could face up to one year in prison, and a fine as large as $500, and
- For Arson Resulting in Injury that causes great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or a permanent disability, you could be charged with a second-degree felony, and, if found guilty, could face up to fifteen years in prison and a fine as large as $10,0000.
- If you are found guilty of Arson Resulting in Injury, and you have prior convictions of any combination of two or more felonies in the state of Florida, you are subject to enhanced penalties or a mandatory minimum prison term under Florida Statutes, Section 775.084.
Defenses to Charges of Arson Resulting in Injury
While your Florida criminal defense attorney will tailor your defense to the specific facts of your case, some of the more common defenses to the crime of Arson Resulting in Injury include:
- Actual innocence—you did not commit the crime, you have an alibi, or if you were identified by another person, it is a case of mistaken identity, or
- The fire was not set deliberately, rather it was an accident.
If you have been charged with Arson Resulting in Injury, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney from The Law Place. Our attorneys will be the advocate in your corner, fighting hard for your rights and your future. Call 941-444-4444 today or contact us on the web.