Fires and explosions can cause serious damage to property, and this can be costly even if no one is injured. In Texas, the law prohibits people from starting fires that cause property damage in many situations. If you are accused of causing a fire, you can face serious criminal charges of arson.
Arson can occur in many different types of circumstances, and the penalties can vary depending on the specific allegations of your case. However, these are always serious felony charges, and you need to aggressively defend against these charges. You need the help of Fort Worth arson defense attorney Kyle Whitaker as soon as possible.
Arson Charges in Texas
Generally speaking, arson involves causing a fire or explosion with the intention to cause property destruction. Arson can involve damage to different types of property, including homes, commercial buildings, other structures, fences, or land. Arson can also involve:
- Knowingly starting a structure fire within city limits
- Destroying an insured property
- Destroying a property secured by a mortgage
- Starting a fire on someone else’s property
- Recklessly causing a fire while manufacturing a controlled substance
- Recklessly causing a fire that could injure others
It’s important to note that property damage does not have to result for arson charges to apply. You can be accused of arson for starting a fire that didn’t catch, as long as you had the intent to destroy property. Arson charges can be more serious if bodily injuries or death result.
Arson charges you might face include:
First-degree felony = If the prosecutor alleges that the fire or explosion led to bodily injury or death, or if the property was a habitation or place of worship or assembly. This can mean five to 99 years in prison or even life imprisonment.
Second-degree felony = This is the most common type of arson charge that involves setting a fire or explosion with the intent to damage property. A conviction can bring two to 20 years in state prison.
Third-degree felony = Recklessly starting a fire while manufacturing a controlled substance, and someone suffers injury or death. Penalties can include two to 10 years in prison.
State jail felony = Recklessly starting a fire while manufacturing a controlled substance that causes property damage. You could face 180 days to two years in prison.
Defending Against Arson Charges
The charges and penalties for arson are serious, so it is critical that you have a strong defense. An experienced arson defense lawyer can:
- Identify and present all possible legal defense in your case
- Work to exclude illegal evidence
- Negotiate a favorable plea bargain with reduced charges or penalties
- Represent you at a jury trial to fight wrongful charges
It is a reality that represented defendants often receive better outcomes than defendants without a skilled defense attorney on their side.
Seek Help from the Right Fort Worth Arson Defense Attorney
If you are arrested and accused of arson in the Fort Worth area, defense lawyer Kyle Whitaker is ready to help. Contact us online or call 817-332-7703 to discuss your case right away.