According to Fla. Stat. § 806.01(1)(a), any person who willfully and unlawfully uses a fire or explosion to damage a dwelling is guilty of arson. This includes buildings and structures that are occupied or unoccupied. According to Fla. Stat. § 806.01(1)(b), jails, prisons, detention centers, hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, department stores, office buildings, businesses, churches, schools and similar buildings are considered dwellings. Arson is a serious crime with serious consequences.
According to Florida law, an individual may commit arson by damaging his/her property or the property of another. Arson resulting in the injury of another person, as mentioned in Fla. Stat. § 806.031, is considered especially offensive. Depending on the severity of the injury inflicted, arson that causes personal injury may be charged as a first degree misdemeanor or a second degree felony – even if the bodily harm was unintentional.
The financial losses from fire suffered by communities in Florida each year is staggering. For this reason fires are thoroughly investigated by insurance companies and local or state agencies in order to identify the causes. Where arson appears to be involved, vigorous efforts are made to locate an individual who can be connected with the crime. If you think you or a loved one is under suspicion or have been arrested and charged, waste no time in securing a qualified Tampa federal defense attorney to represent your rights and interests. The legal team at our firm is experienced in preparing a strong defense strategy in a case involving arson.
Florida sentencing guidelines are strict and the penalties are most severe. A conviction of first degree arson in a Florida court can result in penalties up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Florida prosecutors are very aggressive in arson cases. Even if a fire was started accidentally the responsible person can be charged with arson when a prosecutor feels that negligence can be proven. Since a Florida prosecutor will generally only charge an individual with arson after extensive investigation and case preparation, selecting a fully competent Tampa criminal defense lawyer is vital.
Prosecutors are rated by the number of convictions and completed plea agreements they have on their records. Trying to convince a prosecutor of your innocence by yourself is a very bad idea, as is placing your future in the hands of an inexperienced public defender. Our firm has the resources and know-how when it comes to getting the investigative legwork done and questioning witnesses necessary in preparing a comprehensive defense strategy and facing prosecutors in court. Call Taracks & Associates to discuss your options and get your questions answered by a dedicated criminal defense attorney.