Round Rock Arson Lawyer
What is the definition of arson?
Texas Penal Code Section 28.02 holds the definition of an arson offense. A simple definition of arson would be intentionally starting a fire or causing some sort of explosion that damages property. There are numerous distinctions that accompany this description and the elements of the offense determine the charges that can follow. The type of property and the intent of the defendant have a lot to do with the level of arson charged.
In order to be charged with arson, you must have been aware that the property involved was one of the following:
- Insured against damage
- Subject to mortgage
- Contained another person's property
- Located on someone else's property
- Located within limits of an incorporated city
There are many types of arson that can all result in different charges. For example, arson in open space land will most likely have different consequences than arson of a residence.
What property can result in an arson offense?
Many people assume that arson only involves buildings or homes, but that is not accurate. A fire or explosion to any vegetation, fence, structure on open-space land, building, habitation or vehicle could result in arson charges. The offense does not always need to be intentional either, a reckless act could also lead to an arson offense. The type of property and the unique act could result in first degree or second degree felony charges but any level of arson is charged as a felony in Texas.
First Degree Felony Arson:
- There was an intent to kill
- Someone dies as a result of the arson offense but there was not an intent to kill, but to destroy or damage the property
- The property damaged was a place of worship or habitation
- Punishable by between five and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Second Degree Felony Arson:
- There was only the intent to start a fire to cause property damage
- Punishable by between two and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Third Degree Felony Arson:
- There was the intent to damage to the property of another person or injure someone but the result was damage to a building, habitation or vehicle
- Punishable by between two and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
State Jail Felony Arson:
- The fire was intentional but the damage or injuries suffered were reckless
- Punishable by between six months and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
Defending Against Arson Offenses
When facing arson charges in Texas, it is vital to build a solid defense to avoid a felony conviction. Some of the defenses that can be made include showing a lack of intent to commit the offense. Most of the arson offenses involve an intent to damage property or start a fire and if there was no intent, the charges could be reduced.
Another defense would that the fire was an accident or was a result of intoxication. If there was a search conducted, a skilled attorney can make sure there was a valid warrant and the search did not involve flaws. It takes a dedicated Round Rock criminal lawyer to thoroughly investigate an arson case and be sure that your rights are protected.
Contact R. Scott Magee, Attorney at Law For Representation
Need a lawyer for your arson case in Round Rock, TX? Our firm has years of experience assisting clients in building a solid defense and fighting against arson charges. We also offer a free confidential consultation so you can ask us questions and discuss the details of your case at no cost to you.
Contact our firm now to get started! We represent clients in Round Rock, Georgetown, and Williamson County.
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