Dallas Arson Defense Attorney
Arson, according to the Texas Penal Code, is a criminal offense that involves purposely setting fire to any property, open land, structure, or building under the following circumstances:
- When it is owned by another individual
- When it is insured against destruction or damage
- When it is subject to a security interest or mortgage
- When another individual’s property is inside the structure
- When the accused commits the offense with recklessness and utter disregard for the safety of other people or their property
In Texas, arson is often classified as a second degree felony. If, however, the offense caused physical injury or death to an individual, or if the subject of the arson was a place of worship/assembly or was a dwelling place, the offender may then be charged with a first degree felony.
If a person starts a fire or causes an explosion that results in the damage of a vehicle, building, or habitation—while manufacturing a controlled substance, then this form of arson is classified as a state jail felony. A state jail felony for arson may be elevated to a third degree felony if the criminal offense resulted in physical injury to another or death.
Apart from the intent to destroy or damage property, other reasons for committing arson may include intimidation, revenge, concealment of a murder, murder, and other crimes.
Any allegation of arson should be taken very seriously. After all, the offense can result in extreme property damage and even death. If you have been accused of arson, contact David Finn, P.C. at (214) 871-1121 today to discuss your case.
Penalties of Arson
When arson is classified as a third degree felony arson in Texas, the accused may face up to $10,000 in fines, anywhere from two to 10 years in prison, or both.
If arson is classified as a second degree felony, the offender may face up to $10,000 in fines, anywhere from two to 20 years in prison, or both.
If arson is deemed a first degree felony, the accused may face up to $10,000 in fines, either life in prison or five to 99 years in prison, or both.
Persons convicted of arson as a state jail felony may face up to $10,000 in fines, a minimum of 180 days to two years in jail, or both. If, however, the offender has been convicted of a felony previously, then such charges may be upgraded to a third degree felony.
Before determining the proper penalty for an arson charge, the court takes into consideration factors such as the classification of the property involved, the value of the property, and whether or not there were injuries or deaths.
Call David Finn, P.C. Today
Texas law states that an individual may only be charged with arson if fire investigators are able to establish that the cause of the fire was indeed malicious or intentional. Sadly, numerous cases exist in which the cause of a fire was unidentified, and prosecutors underhandedly shifted the burden of proof to the accused. This is commonly referred to as “arson by default,” meaning the defense must prove that the fire was not started by the accused.
Disproving arson can be a complex process. If you have been accused of arson in Texas, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your future is at stake. David Finn, P.C. will fight aggressively to protect your rights and fight the allegations against you. Call (214) 871-1121 today.