Arson is a serious crime here in Texas.
The penalties are harsh.
Depending on the circumstance, prosecutors may also seek additional serious criminal charges that would be stacked with an arson charge if death or serious bodily injuries occurred as a result of setting the fire or an explosion being set off.
Here are some of the reasons why arson criminal penalties in Texas are so strict:
Arson can cause serious harm: Arson can cause severe injury or death to people, animals, or firefighters. It can also destroy property, homes, and businesses, causing financial ruin for the victims.
Arson can be difficult to investigate: the investigations can be complex and challenging, requiring specialized training and resources to determine the cause of the fire and identify the person responsible.
Arson is often committed for malicious purposes: this criminal act is often committed with the intention of causing harm or damage to a person or property, or for financial gain. It can also be used as a tool for revenge or to cover up other crimes.
Arson can be difficult to prosecute: these cases can be difficult to prosecute due to the challenges involved in proving intent and identifying the perpetrator. As a result, the penalties for arson are often severe in order to deter others from committing the crime.
Statistics indicate the most common arson cases involve:
- Residential Property
- Business property
- Commercial property
- Vacant houses
Motives for arson vary, they can include:
- Fraud (insurance-related)
- Personal profit
- To conceal a crime
- Excitement (Pyromania)
- Social protest, riot, and terrorism
- Retaliation or revenge or retaliation.
The Texas Penal Code defines arson as:
The person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage:
- Any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land; or
- Any building, habitation, or vehicle:
(A) knowing that it is within the limits of an incorporated city or town;
(B) knowing that it is insured against damage or destruction;
(C) knowing that it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest;
(D) knowing that it is located on property belonging to another;
(E) knowing that it has located within it property belonging to another; or
(F) when the person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.
Arson is classified as a second-degree felony, which can result in 2 to 20 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
If someone was injured or died, or the property was a habitation, place of assembly or worship, then it is classified as a first-degree felony, which can result in 5 to 99 years/life in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
If you are facing arson charges contact the criminal defense lawyers of Blizzard and Zimmerman as we have the experience required to give you the best representation possible.
According to a recent Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Report, residential property was involved in just over 45% of structural arsons, with nearly 72% being single occupancy dwellings.
Clients can be confident in the abilities of lawyers Jacob Blizzard, Matt Zimmerman, Sarah Durham, and Morgan Walker to vigorously defend them with personal attention when facing arson charges.
Call today for a one-on-one consultation with a lawyer to find out how we can put our skills and experience to work for you.