house burningThis is the sixth post in my series about defending second-degree felony charges in Austin and other Texas areas. My last article discussed the topic of defending against robbery charges. Being charged with a crime is a serious matter. It is important to understand the legal process once you are charged and the implications of a conviction. It is also helpful to understand the possible defenses one may have if they are charged. This article will discuss dealing with charges of arson. If you or someone you know has been charged with arson or a related crime, then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

Arson is a second-degree felony in Texas only as long as it does not lead a person’s injury

The crime of arson requires that an individual start a fire or cause an explosion with an intention to destroy another person’s property. Under Texas law, arson is a second-degree offense and punishable with 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, if during the commission of the crime, the fire caused bodily injury or death, or the property was a home or place of worship, the charge is enhanced to a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony under Texas law carries a penalty of imprisonment of 5 years to life and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If you are accused of arson, it is possible you may also face additional charges. If a person was seriously injured or killed as a result of the fire, a defendant could be charged with murder or involuntary manslaughter. If the defendant intended to collect insurance proceeds as a result of the fire then, they could be charged with insurance fraud. If it is found the defendant was previously told to stay off a neighbor’s property, then they enter the property a second time and are charged with arson, they can be charged with the additional charges of trespassing or even burglary. Arson is considered a very serious offense in the State of Texas and the prosecution will often take an aggressive stance.

Contact a lawyer as soon as possible if charged with arson

The crime of arson is considered a violent crime and carries damaging consequences. If convicted, not only does it carry a mandatory prison term, but the crime will also remain on your criminal record and can affect your ability to obtain employment. It is crucial to present a strong defense and seek to prevent a second-degree felony conviction. An attorney experienced in criminal law and knowledgeable of the law and relevant defenses will give you the best ability to protect your rights and lessen the impact in the event of a criminal charge.

It is imperative to contact counsel as soon as possible after any arrest. Your representative will take steps promptly to prepare a defense and explain to you your rights. These steps include conducting their own investigation, visiting the scene, speaking with all relevant witnesses, filing evidentiary motions and more. I am an Austin criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling such cases and will take pride in representing you. I devote my practice exclusively to protecting the rights of individuals and am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Contact my office online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. My office also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.