After a fire or an explosion causes damage to a building or structure, local law enforcement agencies investigate to determine if foul play was involved. There are several different definitions for arson, which most basically is the deliberate burning of a building or structure. Arson can be committed for a variety of reasons, and law enforcement officers will search for a motive.
An arson conviction in Florida can have life-altering consequences. A conviction could result in jail time, steep fines or both. You also would have a criminal record, which could affect your personal relationships and ability to get a job. It is important you have a criminal defense attorney on your case if you have been charged with arson.
Melbourne Arson Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with arson in Brevard County, contact an experienced Melbourne arson defense attorney at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy. The criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy have experience on both side of the law and can use that knowledge to aggressively fight your charges. The legal team has a wide range of knowledge and training that can help defend you against property crime charges.
Contact Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy at (321) 253-3447 for a free case evaluation. Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy represents clients throughout Brevard County and the surrounding counties, including Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County and Indian River County.
Florida Arson Information Center
- Definitions of Arson in Florida
- Arson Resulting in Injury to Another Person
- Setting Fire With a Bomb in Melbourne
- Other Fire and Arson Related Charges in Florida
- Penalties for Arson Charges in Central Florida
- Finding an Arson Defense Attorney in Brevard County
Any person who willfully and unlawfully damages any dwelling or structure by fire or explosion is guilty of arson, under Florida Statutes Annotated § 806.01. If the structure is a place where people commonly are present, such as nursing homes, prisons, department stores or hospitals, the accused is guilty of arson in the first degree, a first-degree felony.
Any person who willfully and unlawfully damages any dwelling or structure by fire or explosion is guilty of second-degree arson, whether it is his or her own property, or the property of another. The crime is a second-degree felony.
According to Florida law, the term structure can mean any building of any kind with a roof over it. It applies to any real property, a portable building, any vehicle, vessel, watercraft or aircraft. For example, if you deliberately burn your own boat, it still could be considered arson.
Anyone who commits arson that results in an injury to anyone, including a firefighter, regardless of the intent or lack of intent to cause harm, is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 806.031.
If someone commits arson that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to a firefighter or any other person, regardless of intent or lack of intent to cause harm, he or she is guilty of a felony of the second degree.
Any person who possesses, manufactures, transports or disposes of a fire bomb with intent to damage by fire or explosion any structure or property is guilty of a felony of the third degree, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 806.111.
According to Florida law, a “fire bomb” can mean a container with flammable or combustible liquid or any incendiary chemical mixture or compound having a wick or capable of being ignited. The term does not include any commercially manufactured product used for heating, lighting or cooking.
Anyone who maliciously destroys, damages or interferes with any material to extinguish a fire is guilty of a third-degree felony. The materials can include:
- Water supplies
- Communication facilities
If you interfere with a firefighter or prevent him or her from extinguishing a fire, you could be charged with a third-degree felony.
Also, in Florida it is illegal to falsely proclaim there is a fire in an area, whether it is by outcry or pulling a fire alarm, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 806.101. The first conviction is a first-degree misdemeanor, and a subsequent conviction would be a third-degree felony.
In Florida, the penalties for arson are determined by the type of crime committed. The consequences for each charge are different, based on the severity of the crime. If you are charged with arson, you could face:
- First-Degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
Property crimes are serious offenses in Central Florida, and the consequences are serious. If you are charged with arson, you need a criminal defense attorney with experience and skill. Contact a Melbourne arson defense attorney at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy. Call (321) 253-3447 to discuss your case.