Arson is a serious crime that, if convicted, can cause a person to spend several years in jail and be charged hefty fines to pay for the damage that he caused. A person who faces a serious charge like arson should seek the assistance of a skilled Houston criminal defense attorney such as Mario Madrid.
Arson is a property damage offense that has a potential punishment that is equal to some types of violent offenses. According to the Texas Penal Code, arson is committed when a person initiates a fire or makes an explosion for the purpose of destroying or causing damage to buildings, vehicles or land. A person can be convicted of arson even if the fire does not cause any damage. In order for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant is guilty, he must prove that the defendant knew that:
- The property that he damaged belonged to another person
- The property is insured or a mortgage is held against the property that is damaged and does not belong to the defendant
Although arson is usually charged as an intentional offense, a person may also be charged with arson if he recklessly sets a fire and disregards any potential risk of injury or death that may result in another person or damage to another persons property. For example, a person can be charged with arson if he starts a campfire while there is a burn ban.
Arrested For A Criminal Offense in Texas?
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Penalties for Arson Convictions
A defendant may be charged with a misdemeanor for arson if the damage that results is less than $1,500 in value. Arson may be considered a second-degree felony and may yield a prison sentence between two and 20 years. If the fire involves a person injury, death or damage to a church, the defendant can be convicted of a first-degree felony that can carry a life sentence.
Contact a Houston Arson Lawyer
Mario Madrid is an experienced criminal defense attorney certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His background consists of experience as a municipal court judge and an assistance district attorney so he knows how prosecutors think and will structure his clients’ defense in a way that takes this knowledge into account.
If you are facing criminal arson charges, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Madrid Law at 713-877-9400.