Have you been arrested and charged with arson? Depending upon the damage and injures involved, you could be facing harsh sentences if you’ve been charged with arson. Arson charges can be made in a variety of different situations. This type of case isn’t taken lightly in Jackson, so you need to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney with arson case experience as soon as possible.Malicious Burning
An arson charge usually happens when the investigators find that some type of accelerant was used. People aren’t usually charged with arson unless there is some type of evidence that there was malicious or criminal intent involved. How do they determine if a person intended to start a fire? That’s a great question. The prosecutor will have to prove that an accelerant was used, or determine if there was any other type of evidence that points to an intentional malicious fire. Gasoline and lighter fluid are two different types of accelerants.Recklessness
There are exceptions to the rule. Intent isn’t always necessary to charge somebody with arson, if recklessness can be shown. Every case is different. If you didn’t intentionally start a fire, but were acting with reckless abandon, it might be possible to get charged with arson if a structure or property was damaged. There may be some discretion used depending on the circumstances and details of the case.Felony Charges
Most arson cases are felonies. This means that you could be spending more than a year in a federal or state prison facility. In addition to stiff prison sentences, a felony conviction can impact the rest of your life. On the outside, getting jobs and staying out of trouble is infinitely more difficult after a long stint in prison and a felony conviction on your record.Was Anybody Hurt?
If somebody was injured or killed in the fire, you could be facing a first-degree arson charge or additional charges. If somebody is hurt or dies as a result of the fire, you could be facing an extensive or indefinite prison sentence too. Cases where a person was hurt are much more complicated than cases that only deal with property damage.Commercial, Industrial and Residential Arson
Residential fires are obviously some of the more dangerous types of fires for a number of reasons. Occupants including children could be in the house or in neighboring houses. Structures can quickly go up in flames and catch onto adjoining properties. Property damage in commercial and industrial fires can be extensive and costly too. Depending upon the severity of the fire and the particular circumstances and details of your case, you could be facing a plethora of additional charges, including reckless endangerment, manslaughter or even fraud.What About Insurance?
Insurance fraud is commonly considered as a motive for arson, so in addition to having a traditional criminal investigation. There will most likely be an insurance investigation too. Never underestimate the tenacity of an insurance company to keep from paying on a claim. They might have a specially trained fire investigator and other industry experts on the case. Evidence they find can be used against you in court. Your defense attorney can stay on top of investigative developments and make sure your rights are being protected.Fines and Restitution
Since arson charges typically involves some level of property damage, fines and restitution costs can be expensive. If convicted, you could be facing thousands of dollars worth of fines, on top of restitution costs to the victims. Restitution is basically money paid to victims to compensate them for their property damage or loss. Residential, commercial and industrial property damage can be incredibly expensive too. Depending upon the dollar amount of damage caused, you could be paying on the property damage for years. You might also be required to pay the fire department that handled the fire too.What to do After an Arson Arrest
Getting charged with Arson in Jackson or the surrounding areas is the last thing you need, but if you’ve been arrested, you need to speak with an attorney A.S.A.P. Don’t waste time with an overburdened public defender, call an experienced proven law firm. In addition to prison time, you could be facing stiff fines and restitution costs. The top priority for your legal team needs to be to get you acquitted of all charges. Don’t hang your hopes on a public defender’s ability to plea your case down to a lesser charge. You need to start with a professional and go for the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with arson in Jackson, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 948-1600.