Fort Lauderdale Arson Lawyer
The offense of arson is a property crime in Florida, along with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing. Arson is the act of intentionally and illegally destroying property through fire or explosion, and it is taken very seriously in Fort Lauderdale. Arson results in millions of dollars in property damage every year, and it places people’s lives at risk. Regardless of the facts of the case, anyone accused of arson will face felony charges, which are very serious. If you have been charged with this crime, it is essential that you speak with a Fort Lauderdale arson lawyer as soon as possible.
First Degree Arson in Fort Lauderdale
Florida law separates the criminal offense of arson into two degrees. First degree arson is the most serious of these. To secure a conviction for first degree arson, the prosecutor must prove certain elements of the case. These are as follows:
- The defendant knowingly and unlawfully caused damage to a dwelling, regardless of whether it was occupied, using fire or explosion,
- The defendant knowingly and illegally caused damage to a structure they had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by another person,
- The defendant knowingly and unlawfully caused damage to a structure in which people are typically present
The legal statute for first degree arson includes many different types of structures, including:
- Prisons and jails
- Detention centers
- Nursing homes
- Other healthcare facilities
Business establishments, department stores, educational institutions, and churches are also outlined in the legal statute for first degree arson.
It is also important to note that any time someone damages a structure by fire or explosion while committing another felony, they may also face charges of first degree arson. In this instance, it does not matter if the accused intentionally damaged the structure or not. The penalty for first degree arson for those convicted include up to 30 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Second Degree Arson
Second degree arson is not as serious as first degree arson, but it does still carry very harsh penalties. A person may be charged with second degree arson if they knowingly and illegally damage a structure by fire or explosion in any circumstance not covered in the statute for first degree arson. The penalty for those convicted of second degree arson is up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Our Fort Lauderdale Arson Lawyer Can Help Tie Your Charges
If you have been charged with arson, you need a great defense that will help you retain your freedom. At the office of Kevin J. Kulik, our Fort Lauderdale arson lawyer knows how to provide it to give you the best chance of beating your charges. Attorney Kulik has a proven track record of helping clients beat their criminal charges, and he wants to put that experience to work for you. Call us today at 954-761-9411 or fill out our online form to schedule a free confidential consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.