Arson Defense in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale
If law enforcement charges you with arson, you must hire an arson lawyer in South Florida immediately. In the state of Florida, all arson charges are felonies. A felony conviction can affect the rest of your life, severely limiting your freedom. Do not take the chance of facing arson charges in court without an experienced defense attorney on your side, fighting to prove your innocence.
Contact criminal defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal for a free case evaluation as soon as possible. Mr. Shafran has years of legal experience, and having formerly worked as a prosecutor, is well-versed in how the opposing side will attempt to prove your guilt. With Mr. Shafran on your side, you are already one step ahead, as he takes a proactive approach to building your defense. He will not wait to react to whatever the prosecutor’s office may throw your way.
Arson Penalty in South Florida
The penalties for an arson conviction are not to be taken lightly. You may face years in prison as well as thousands of dollars in fines. If you injure a person during the act, your penalties may be even steeper. If someone dies, law enforcement may also charge you with murder or manslaughter. Even if you did not know a person was present at the time of the act, the courts will take this extremely seriously.
As a convicted felon, you will lose your right to vote, become limited in your employment and housing options, lose your right to own a firearm, and much more. With so much at stake, having an arson lawyer to defend you in court is essential.
Types of Arson
Law enforcement may charge you will arson any time fire or an explosive is intentionally set in a dwelling, structure, or to a property such as a car. It does not matter whether individuals are present at the time of the incident.
Sometimes, fires or explosions happen accidentally during a less severe crime, such as trespassing or vandalism. These crimes are generally misdemeanors, but when law enforcement adds arson to the list, it gets even more serious.
Arson typically occurs in several different settings. It is a common way for an individual to destroy evidence of another crime. Additionally, it may be part of vandalism gone wrong. Or, it may be part of insurance fraud in an attempt to collect money on a destroyed building or piece of property. Still, it may also be done with malicious intent. No matter the scenario, it will remain a felony charge for which you will face severe consequences upon conviction. For this reason, having an arson defense attorney is crucial.
First-degree arson charges are among the most serious charges. You will likely receive first-degree arson charges if there is an individual inside the dwelling or structure that is set on fire. You can also receive a first-degree charge if a person, or people, could reasonably be expected to be inside. Scenarios include setting fire to a house or an office building during working hours.
If law enforcement cannot prove that this is the case, you cannot receive charges of arson in the first degree. The exception to this rule is when a fire is set while in the process of another crime, such as attempting to destroy evidence or commit insurance fraud. When there are other charges involved, an arson charge will likely be in the first degree.
This can be dubious, as many arson charges occur while trespassing or committing another act of vandalism. For this reason, having an arson lawyer on your side is essential. It may help get your charges reduced.
Second-degree arson is still a felony charge, though your consequences may be less severe than a first-degree conviction. However, since a felony conviction will follow you for life, you should take a second-degree arson charge just as seriously.
You can read the full Florida State legislature regarding arson crimes here.
Second-degree arson can entail acts such as setting smaller objects on fire or small structures where individuals do not live or work. These things can include sheds, garbage cans, and so forth. But please note that if a person sustains an injury during the crime, you can receive first-degree arson charges.
Strategy for Defending an Arson Charge
An arson lawyer, such as Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal, can use a variety of strategic defenses in an attempt to get your charges reduced or dismissed. The most significant is proving a lack of intent. Arson is a crime that a person must participate in intentionally.
If a prosecutor cannot prove that you meant to start a fire or explosion, it may be ruled as an accident. This can help get your charges reduced.
An arson attorney will also attempt to establish your innocence by proving you have an alibi. That is, if you were somewhere else at the time of the fire, it is unlikely that you are the one who set it.
Other defenses include lack of proof and lack of motivation. Remember, the courts must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are the one responsible for the fire. If there is no proof that you are the one who committed the crime, you cannot receive a conviction.
How an Arson Lawyer Can Help
When you contact criminal defense lawyer Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal, he will start working on your case immediately. As soon as law enforcement charges you with arson, contact the firm. You do not have to speak to the police without a lawyer present. Do not let investigators tell you otherwise. Instead, contact Mr. Shafran for representation.
At Weinstein Legal, you will have access to your lawyer around-the-clock, 365-days a year. No matter when you need help, have questions or need support, Mr. Shafran and the team are here for you. We pride ourselves on communication with our clients, and you will never be left in the dark regarding your case. We are here to help you through the legal process every step of the way and to prove your innocence.
Contact Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach arson lawyer Matt Shafran today for a free case evaluation at 561-931-6687. Your call will never go unanswered.