In Tampa, there are no property crime charges that are as serious as arson. If you have been arrested on suspicion of committing arson, it is absolutely vital that you look at hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer, one who has experience in dealing with cases like yours from both sides of the courtroom.
Florida likes to throw the book at people who commit this crime, and the punishments are severe for those who are convicted. You could be looking at long sentences in jail, extortionate fines, and a criminal record that could cause you problems for the rest of your life.
When you are making a decision like this, you are placing the fate of your entire life into a lawyer’s hands. They could be the only thing that stands between you and prison.
Here at The Law Place, we understand what drastic effects a conviction like this could potentially have on the rest of your life, and we want to fight our hardest to prevent that. We will do that by building the best possible defense for your case. For the best chance of us being able to do that, you should get in touch at the earliest possible moment.
Call (941) 444-4444 as soon as possible, and we will arrange a free consultation and give you some free, unbiased advice. We will advise you on the best course of action and where we think you stand in terms of having your charges dropped or reduced.
How Is Arson Defined?
Arson is defined in Florida Statute 806.01 as the unlawful and willing damage of property utilizing fire or explosion.
Some common types of property that could be included are:
- Nursing homes.
- Health care facilities.
For buildings that do not typically contain a human being, the charges are generally lessened but are still very serious.
What Classifies as a Structure?
A structure is defined as a vehicle, tent, boat building, or enclosed area with a roof. Included in this are boats and aircraft, and any temporary structure that has been erected.
Potential Penalties and Punishments
Tampa treats arson seriously. Even though there is a wide range of different property crimes that you could commit, none will get you a punishment as serious as arson. Arson is always classed as a felony. The type of felony that it will be classified as will depend on the specific details of the crime. Typically, if the arson damaged a structure with a high likelihood of containing a human being or causing injury to another living person, the punishments will be increased.
If arson is committed to a residential property, such as a tent, house, or caravan, you will be looking at a first-degree felony. For any other structure, you will be looking at a second-degree felony if nobody was injured.
If somebody was injured, depending on the severity of their injury, there is a high likelihood that additional charges will be added. First-degree misdemeanor charges will be added if the injury was minor, and a second-degree felony could be added if there was serious bodily harm caused.
A first-degree felony can carry punishments of up to a lifetime in prison, with second-degree felonies carrying a potential for 30 years. Both will also have major fines attached that rise into the tens of thousands.
Further Consequences of an Arson Conviction
The consequences of being convicted of a felony like arson are long-reaching and could affect you long after you have served your punishments. You could have major trouble applying for everyday things like loans, rent agreements, and mortgages. You could also find it difficult to seek employment and visitation or custody rights to see your children.
Defending Against Arson Charges
Now the first and most important thing to know is that time is absolutely crucial when it comes to your defense. The sooner you call us, the better. Your chances of a solid defense lessen the longer you leave it after being arrested. When you get in touch with a good criminal defense lawyer, they will mobilize straight away, investigating everything they possibly can in order to help your case.
If you get in touch with us in a timely manner, you will find that you have increased chances of having your charges dropped or reduced.
There are several different possibilities when it comes to potential defenses we might decide to use. We could argue that:
- You did not start the fire on purpose.
- You did not start the fire at all and that it was actually an act of nature or an electrical problem.
- You did not start the fire, and you have been wrongly accused.
- The evidence against you is not sufficient enough to prove your guilt.
Questions You Should Ask Any Criminal Defense Lawyer Before Hiring Them
When it comes to choosing a criminal defense lawyer to place your fate in, we know you will most likely be comparing a number of different law firms. We think that this is exactly the right thing to do. This could be the most important decision you ever make, and we agree that you should be doing the best possible research that you can before making a decision.
To help you out, here are some questions that we get asked a lot that you should use to interview your potential law firm and their attorneys:
- Have you handled cases that are similar to mine?
- Have you won cases similar to mine?
- How many trials with a jury have you litigated?
- What is your record for working out plea agreements?
- What are your fees? Can I pay them in monthly installments if they end up being larger than expected?
- Can you provide me with references?
The last question is the most important one. A good attorney will have no issue providing you with testimonials and referrals from previous happy clients. Any attorney that is hesitant to do so may have a poor history or bad reputation and should be avoided at all costs.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Place Today
When you need a team behind you with experience, you should look to us here at The Law Place. We can boast a combined experience of over 75 years in defending clients in similar predicaments to you. We have had charges dropped, reduced hefty jail sentences, and have numerous clients who are more than happy to vouch for us.
From the moment you hire us, you will be treated with the utmost respect and listened to with compassion. We value an attorney-client relationship built on trust. We will fight your corner with a venom that cannot be beaten, and we will not rest until we get the best possible outcome that we can get for you.
We keep our phone lines open around the clock every day of the year, so don’t hesitate to call us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation and no-obligation legal advice.