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Arson vs. Accidental Fires: Defending Against False Accusations

Posted in Criminal Defense on March 23, 2024

Arson is a felony offense in Texas that should not be taken lightly. Arson is defined as intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion to destroy or damage property. Such property includes land, buildings, fences, vehicles, or even vegetation. There are varying degrees of arson, and the severity of the charge depends on the facts. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself, especially if you believe that you have been falsely accused.

If you have been charged with arson, you face serious legal consequences. Your attorney may be able to raise defenses against the prosecution that will weaken their case. For example, your lawyer could argue that the prosecution made a procedural error, prove you lacked the requisite intent, or establish a strong alibi. Whether or not the fire was an accident could potentially determine the outcome of your case. The talented criminal defense lawyers with Mary E. Conn & Associates are familiar with arson cases and passionate about defending people against false accusations. Call us now for help with your defense. 

What Constitutes Arson?

A person commits arson when they start a fire or an explosion while intending to destroy or damage property. Arson is a felony offense, and most instances of arson are second-degree felonies. The severity of the arson charge depends on the type of property that is damaged, whether or not human life was endangered, and the cause of the fire or explosion. The different degrees of arson are described below:

  • First-degree Felony: Arson is a first-degree felony when death or bodily injury to a person occurred, or the arsonist targeted a home or a religious place of worship. The punishment can range from five years to life in prison.
  • Second-degree Felony: Arson is a second-degree felony when the arsonist started the fire or explosion with the intent to destroy or damage property, and death or bodily injury to a person did not occur. The punishment ranges from two to twenty years in prison.
  • Third-degree Felony: Arson is a third-degree felony when the fire or explosion was recklessly caused during the creation of a controlled substance, and death or bodily injury of a person occurred. The punishment ranges from two to ten years in prison.
  • State Jail Felony: Arson is a state jail felony when the fire or explosion was recklessly caused during the creation of a controlled substance, and the fire or explosion damaged a building, home, or vehicle. The punishment ranges from six months to two years in jail.

An arsonist may intend to destroy vehicles, buildings, homes, land, fences, or vegetation; however, a controlled burn on open land is typically not considered arson. There are many complexities surrounding arson laws and fire investigations, and a person charged with arson needs a lawyer familiar with arson cases to defend them against the prosecution.

Possible Defenses Against an Arson Charge

Texas prosecutors take arson very seriously. Unfortunately, people can be wrongly accused of arson, and criminal defense lawyers want to help innocent people get acquitted. Even if you are innocent, you still have to follow the correct procedure during the legal process. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you defend against false accusations by raising any of the following defenses:

  • Procedural Errors: You can weaken the prosecution’s case against you by pointing out any procedural errors or mishandling of evidence.
  • Lack of Intent: You most likely cannot be convicted of arson if you prove that you lacked the requisite intent. If the fire in question was a complete accident, then you did not intend to damage or destroy any property.
  • Establish an Alibi: A strong alibi will help you defend yourself. The prosecution will have a weak case against you if you can prove that you were not present at the fire and lacked any motive to commit arson.

If you have been charged with arson, do not hesitate to speak with a criminal defense lawyer about your case. The prosecutor may have circumstantial evidence against you, but you and your criminal defense lawyer can raise effective defenses to fight against your arson charge. Call us today for help with your arson defense

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys With Mary E. Conn & Associates to Discuss Your Arson Case Today

The legal consequences for felony arson are severe. You deserve a strong legal advocate who can protect your rights and defend you effectively in court. You should not hesitate to contact our team of highly experienced criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case.

Mary E. Conn & Associates cares about helping you defend against false accusations. If you believe that you have been falsely accused of arson, you can consult with someone on our team regarding legal representation. Please fill out our contact form or call (713) 357-4190 today.

CALL US TODAY 713-357-4190