Fighting Arson Charges in Miami, FL
Miami Criminal Lawyer
Arson is the act of damaging property by fire or explosion, either willfully or during the commission of another felony. You may be charged with arson if the fire or explosion did damage to any structure, vehicle, dwelling or other building that you had reason to believe was occupied. There is no requirement that anyone was present in the damaged building before the government can charge you with arson. Additional charges are possible if someone, such as a firefighter, was hurt in the fire. Regardless of the circumstances of a case, however, four elements must be present to prove that one has committed a punishable act of arson, including:
- The act must have been malicious: In this sense, a malicious act simply means that one has acted in a way that has created the risk of burning another's property—whether willfully or unintentionally.
- Burn damage must be present: As long as burn damage has been done to another person's property, one can be charged with arson, regardless of how minor or severe the damage actually is.
- The building must be a dwelling: In order for an act to be considered arson, the building that was damaged must have been occupied, as the destruction of an unoccupied building is not grounds for an arson charge.
- The building was not one's own: If a person burns down their own place of residence, or their own vehicle, they cannot be charged with arson, as the dwelling must belong to someone else.
Avoiding the Penalties of a Guilty Verdict
Arson is a felony that carries between fifteen and thirty years in state prison, depending on the circumstances of the crime. This does not count any separate charges related to the explosion or fire, such as burglary,
murder. If you have been charged with this serious crime in Florida, you need help from an experienced criminal lawyer. The prosecution will work diligently to have you convicted, and you must act now to secure a favorable outcome. Based in Miami, David S. Seltzer is an experienced
Miami criminal defense attorney Let an experienced former prosecutor help protect your good name and reputation. Free, confidential consultations are available for all potential clients any time of the day or night.