Charges of arson in the state of Florida are extremely serious. If you are charged with Arson in the First Degree, under Florida Statutes, Section 806.01, then the prosecutor believes you caused damage to a structure or its contents, starting a fire deliberately, or while committing another crime. The crime of first-degree arson must also involve a fire which was started in a dwelling or location where people are typically present during normal occupancy hours. The prosecutor must, in most cases of Arson in the First Degree in Florida, prove that you knew—or should have known—that there could be a person occupying the structure.
Because the penalties for a conviction of Arson in the First Degree are so severe, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney. The criminal attorneys from The Law Place have a solid understanding of the level of investigation required to defend you against the charges. The most serious arson case in Florida will involve a fatality, a serious injury to another person, or a serious injury to a firefighter or other responder. However, in many cases, charges of arson in the state of Florida may be based on circumstantial evidence. If you are charged with Arson in the First Degree, you may be held in custody without bond, or you could be granted bail, but it could be extremely high.
Potential Penalties Associated with Arson in the First Degree
If convicted, your penalties for the crime of Arson in the First Degree, under Florida Statutes, Section 806.01(1), will depend on the circumstances surrounding your crime, however you could face up to thirty years in prison, and fines as large as $10,000. If this is not your first offense, your consequences and fines could be much more serious.
What is a Structure?
Florida Statutes, Section 806.01(3) defines the term “structure” as a vehicle, a portable building, a tent, any type of real property, an enclosed area with a roof, a building of any type, any boat, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft. If the structure is a department school, a school, a church, an office building, a healthcare facility, a jail, a detention center, a prison or a hospital, enhanced penalties will apply
Potential Defenses to Arson
While the defense your criminal attorney builds on your behalf will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case, the following are “typical” defenses to the crime of arson:
- Actual innocence—you were not the person who committed the crime, and/or the eyewitness is mistaken about your identity;
- You lacked the required intent to commit the crime of arson—in order to qualify for first degree arson, you must have set the fire intentionally, without regard to the cost to property or life, or
- Although you caused the fire, it was an accident, not a deliberate act.
Getting the Help You Need After Being Charged with Arson in the First Degree
If you have been charged with Arson in the First Degree in the state of Florida, you must take your charges very seriously, and you must have a Florida criminal defense attorney by your side who takes the charges just as seriously. The criminal attorneys at The Law Place will launch an exhaustive investigation on your behalf in order to build the best defense possible. We understand the extremely serious criminal penalties you face should you be convicted of this crime, and will do our best to minimize those penalties. Contact The Law Place attorneys today. Call 941-444-4444.