Fort Worth Arson Lawyer
If you have been charged with the crime of arson in Texas, you could face incarceration, financial penalties, court-ordered restitution, probation, and a permanent criminal record. However, you still can fight these allegations.
That is why you should contact a Fort Worth arson lawyer who is familiar with this type of case. Our team could provide you with the information and advice you need to decide how best to proceed.
What Constitutes Arson in Fort Worth?
In general, a person can be charged with arson in Texas in several instances. The first way someone can face these allegations is if they started a fire or caused an explosion with the intent to damage or destroy any fence, structure, or vegetation on open-space land
Someone can also face these charges if they started a fire or caused an explosion with the intent to damage or destroy any building, residence, or vehicle that they knew was within the limits of an incorporated city or town, insured against damage or destruction, subject to a mortgage or other security interest, located on someone else’s property, or has someone else’s property located within it.
If someone started a fire or caused an explosion and were reckless as to whether it would endanger the life of someone else or the safety of someone else’s property, they could face arson charges. An individual who recklessly started a fire or caused an explosion while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance could also be charged with arson if the fire or explosion damaged any building, residence, or vehicle.
Penalties for Arson
Although arson is generally prosecuted as a Second-Degree Felony, there are certain instances in which it is classified – and prosecuted – differently. These are as follows:
- First-Degree Felony – intentional fires or explosions that resulted in actual bodily injury or death to another person or that were intended to specifically damage or destroy a residential building or a place of assembly or worship
- Third-Degree Felony – fires and explosions that were recklessly started or caused while manufacturing a controlled substance and that resulted in actual bodily injury or death to another person
- State Jail Felony – fires and explosions that were recklessly started or caused while manufacturing a controlled substance – and that resulted in damage to any building, residence or vehicle
The penalties that can be imposed for each classification of arson are as follows:
- First-degree felony – life imprisonment or a term of five to 99 years plus a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony – two to 20 years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony – two to ten years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000
- State jail felony – 180 days to two years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000
A Fort Worth arson lawyer could be your best resource to understand the charges and potential penalties you face.
Defenses Against an Arson Charge
In addition to the usual defenses that can be raised in most criminal matters (e.g., lack of intent, mistaken identity, verifiable alibi, etc.), there are some specific exceptions to the arson laws in Texas. These include situations in which the fire or explosion was part of a controlled-burning of open-space land and in which the individual who caused the fire or explosion had properly obtained a permit or written authorization from the applicable municipality regarding the underlying act.
Let a Fort Worth Arson Attorney Help
Since the potential penalties for arson are so severe, it is important that you contact a Fort Worth arson lawyer if you were charged with this type of crime. Our team of experienced attorneys could help to ensure that all your legal rights are fully protected and that you will be fairly represented throughout all phases of the prosecutorial process.
Call today to set up a consultation. Our legal team could fully discuss the facts of your case to help you build the right defense for your unique circumstances.