Florida Arson Charges And Your Defense
If you are suspected of setting fire on a piece of property with the intent to do damage or destroy, you could be facing arson charges. Intentional destruction has consequences, even if an individual believes they are justified in doing so.
When you or someone you love is under investigation for an arson incident in Florida, you need to discuss the situation with a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. A skilled lawyer can explore possible defenses and will speak for you, which can be beneficial because if you say the wrong thing when discussing the case with law enforcement, it could improve the prosecution’s case.
Consequences for Property Crimes
Arson is a property crime, but it is also considered a felony in the state of Florida. Once a person is charged with arson, the severity of the event will be reviewed and the charge will be given a degree. It will be a first-degree offense or a second-degree offense. Often this determination is connected to the offender knowing that there were people occupying the property or not. When there are no people present, the arson charge will likely be a second-degree offense. If the person was aware of people at the site, it would be a first-degree charge.
- First-degree arson. This is a first-degree felony with a maximum imprisonment time of 30 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Second-degree arson. A second-degree felony with penalties of up to 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Additional penalties are possible if anyone was injured. There also can be restitution payments involved after a conviction. Restitution payments essentially mean the person convicted would have to pay for property that was destroyed or damaged.
Building a Defense
Veteran criminal attorneys will review your case and take a customized look at what defense would be optimal given the details of the charge. One of the following may be applicable.
- Proof the fires started accidentally.
- Evidence that you had the right to start a fire.
- Establishing an alibi, a person who will testify that you were with them at the time in question, to illustrate you were not there when the fire was started.
- Pointing out that the prosecution team does not have enough evidence of destruction to result in a conviction.
Florida prosecutors aggressively pursue arson cases. Do not assume that you will not be subjected to heavy fines and freedom loss.
Take Florida arson arrests seriously, talk to a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer without delay. Depending on the severity of the incident, you could be facing years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
What questions do you have about first-degree or second-degree arson charges? When you are facing charges for a property crime, you need an experienced attorney who has experience representing clients who have faced similar charges. To protect your rights and freedoms, share your story with the legal team at King Law Group. To get your arson defense started, schedule your free consultation today.