Arson, where someone deliberately sets a property on fire, is classed as a felony crime in Florida and is dealt with incredibly seriously. Although it’s not as common in Tampa as burglary, theft, or criminal mischief, it still occurs somewhat frequently and is prosecuted severely when it does. Those facing charges of arson may be sentenced with high fines and lengthy jail terms. This is because of the high risk of death and permanent injury to another person.
An allegation of arson should not be taken lightly by a defendant. If you have been charged with arson, especially arson of the first degree, then you need to contact The Law Place immediately. The attorneys at our law firm have plenty of experience in dealing with arson cases just like yours and will fight tirelessly to ensure they secure the best possible result for you. So, contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so call us now at (941) 444-4444.
What Is Arson?
As is stated clearly in Florida Statute 806.01, arson is where someone “willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, causes damages.”
This can apply to:
- Any dwelling or its contents, whether the dwelling was occupied or not.
- Any structure where people are normally present.
- Any other structure that the defendant knew or should have known was occupied.
In this case, a structure is defined as any kind of building or enclosed area with a roof over it. This can include tents, vehicles, and more.
In Tampa, arson is classed as a felony, which is the most serious category of a criminal offense. This is because of the severity of the crime and the potential it has to cause devastating consequences to property and innocent people.
Because arson is categorized as a felony, it means those convicted of arson face incredibly high penalties. This makes it so crucial that if you or a loved one have been charged with arson, you contact The Law Place today. While you have the power to represent yourself in court if you wish to, the attorneys at The Law Place have the specific knowledge, skill, and years of experience that is so important when fighting a case in court. Make no mistake: you will be much more likely to win a better outcome if you have one of our lawyers fighting on your behalf. So, contact The Law Place today to set up a consultation and receive free legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer.
For a free legal consultation with a arson in the first degree lawyer serving Tampa, call 941-444-4444
What Are the Different Degrees of Arson in Tampa, FL?
As mentioned above, arson is a felony offense in Tampa, which means it is a crime taken very seriously by judges. However, within this felony category, there are various degrees that are used to divide the crime according to its seriousness.
In Florida law, arson charges are categorized as either a first-degree or a second-degree felony, the latter of which is a lesser charge.
First-degree arson involves willfully and unlawfully damaging either a dwelling or structure using a fire or explosion. In this instance, a dwelling is a building, whether it is occupied or not, and a structure is a building where people are normally present. An example of this would be a health care facility or a religious institution during its hours of operation.
However, second-degree arson involves using fire or explosion to damage a structure where people are not normally present. For example, a storage facility outside of business hours. However, this can also include setting fire to things such as garbage cans.
Second degree and first-degree arson are both major charges, and, if charged with either, you should take this seriously and understand the gravity of these charges. To give yourself the best chance at avoiding a conviction and/or severe penalties, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer today. The attorneys at The Law Place in Tampa will build a strong defense against your case, so call us today to schedule a free consultation so a lawyer can look through the specifics of your case and advise you on what action to take next.
Tampa Arson in the First Degree Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Common Injuries Caused by Arson Attacks
In Florida, first-degree and second-degree arson are considered to be violent crimes because they can result in victims suffering from serious injuries and, in extreme cases, can even result in a fatality. Some of the most common injuries caused in an arson attack are listed below:
- Lung damage caused by excessive smoke inhalation.
- Burns, cuts, lacerations, or scarring.
- Emotional distress and lasting psychological trauma.
- Wrongful death.
The more severe the injuries that were caused by the arson attack you are charged with were, the harsher the penalties you face will be. This is why you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to help defend you and ensure you receive the best outcome possible.
Common Types of Damage Caused by Arson Attacks
Committing arson usually ends up with property being damaged. The damages that are commonly caused by arson attacks are as follows:
- Structural damage.
- Smoke damage, such as etching of glass, discoloration of the surfaces and walls, and corrosion.
- Damage, such as destruction and/or loss of personal property.
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What Penalties Do You Face if You Have Been Charged With Arson in the First Degree in Tampa, FL?
The penalties you face will depend on the specific circumstances that surround your case, but there are some guidelines that Tampa judges will follow:
- Fine – For first-degree arson, you could receive up to $10,000 in fines. This is not including any legal costs you may incur on top of that total.
- Prison sentence – You could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison if you are convicted of arson in the first degree.
However, if you already have two prior felonies on your criminal record, then as is stated by Florida Statute 775.084, you may receive even harsher penalties.
Furthermore, if someone was injured or killed because of the arson attack, you may also be charged with additional misdemeanors and/or felonies depending on how serious the injuries were.
At The Law Place, we will always fight to get your charge reduced to a second-degree felony, as the penalties are not as harsh as those you face when charged with arson in the first degree. For arson in the second degree, you may receive a fine of up to $10,000, but you would not receive any more than 15 years in prison.
Our lawyers will not stop there! If you enlist the help of our Tampa-based criminal defense attorneys, you can trust that they will fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. Each case is unique, and so our lawyers will spend time crafting a defense to suit the specific circumstances of your case. This will mean it is more likely that the charges against you will be dismissed. If this cannot be achieved, we will still be entirely determined to win your case, get your charges reduced, and/or ensure you receive only the most lenient penalties possible.
So, contact The Law Place today to book a free consultation so that an experienced lawyer can go through the specifics of your case and give you legal advice tailored to your case.
Additional Consequences You May Face if You’re Convicted of Arson in the First Degree
As a direct consequence of an arson conviction, you may be fined and/or sent to jail. The criminal record that you will now have also brings with it serious consequences. These consequences will likely impact the rest of your life. Having a count of first-degree arson on your criminal record may cause difficulty when:
- You are searching for employment, as most employers in Florida do not offer a job to candidates who have criminal records.
- You want to continue with your education, most notably if you are applying for college or scholarships.
- You are applying for any type of finance at the bank, such as a loan or an overdraft.
- You are applying for a mortgage or a rent agreement.
- You have to seek custody or visitation rights over your children.
- You are seeking to acquire a certain license.
While these are arguably indirect consequences of getting charged with arson, they are long-lasting, unlike the fine or jail term that you may receive.
Therefore, it’s important to contact The Law Place to ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance at winning your case or having the arson charges dropped completely.
How Could a Lawyer Defend You in Court in Tampa, FL?
It is important to understand that all arson cases are different and that each one requires a specific defense if you want a chance at beating the charge. Because of how unique they are, your attorney will need to build a defense based on the circumstances that surround your case. However, there are some defense strategies that are widely used by attorneys when defending in an arson case. Some have been listed below:
- Complete innocence – You were wrongfully accused and did not commit the act of arson and were not involved at all. If you have a strong alibi, this may be the best defense for you.
- Lack of intent – You did not mean to start the fire; it was an accident. If this is proven, then you cannot be charged with arson, as you did not start the fire “willfully and unlawfully.”
- Accidental – This is where, although you started the fire, you did not intend for it to cause damage to property, injure anyone, or get out of hand.
- Evidence – Your lawyer may be able to argue that the evidence was either incorrect and biased or obtained through an unlawful search and seizure attempt.
- Permission – If you have evidence that proves you had the permission of the landowner to start the fire, then this can be used to defend you.
There are, of course, many more different defense strategies that may suit your case, and so even if you don’t believe you will be able to win your case, you should contact The Law Place for a professional opinion. It is likely that they will be able to create a strong defense on your behalf, which will ensure that you receive the best result possible.
If you work with The Law Place, we will ensure that a positive attorney-client relationship is established and that all your questions and concerns are answered. Our Tampa lawyers will gather their own evidence and investigate your case themselves and ensure none of your rights were violated. They will prioritize your case and question the legitimacy and accuracy of the prosecution’s evidence. So, contact us today to book a free consultation with a lawyer who will do everything they can to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
The Law Place
We understand how incredibly crucial your case and its result are to you and the impact it will have on the rest of your life. Because of this, we highly recommend that you research every law firm to ensure that you work with the attorneys that you believe are best for you and will be able to offer you the help and support that you need.
However, we are confident that after your research, you will determine that The Law Place would be the best for you. Our attorneys will be able to answer any queries you may have and will put your mind to rest as they take on the work on your behalf. We know that this is a stressful time for you and that you don’t need any extra stress, so we will do as much as we can for you.
Our criminal defense lawyers are experienced at building a strong and carefully thought out defense for clients and representing them in court, and so will be well-equipped to take on your case for you. The sooner you seek help, the better, so contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.