Arson Lawyer in Lakeland

Fighting to Ensure Our Clients Are Not Railroaded by the System

Property crimes are typically charged as misdemeanors. This usually means the maximum jail sentence for a conviction is only one year. However, this isn’t the case with arson. A person accused of this crime will face felony charges, and dependent on the circumstances of their case, they could spend decades behind bars. Don’t let this happen to you. An arson lawyer in Lakeland may be able to help.

At DeMichael Law, our legal team provides dedicated criminal defense for each of our clients. The judicial system says that everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, it may not feel as though this is true when you’re facing serious charges. Police will try hard to build a case against you, and prosecutors will tell you that a conviction is unavoidable. Don’t take them at their word. Contact our law firm today.

How Is Arson Defined in Florida?

There are a few elements that prosecutors must prove to secure an arson conviction in Florida. This crime includes the intentional and unlawful damage of any structure by fire or explosion. In court, prosecutors will need to show that a fire or explosion was caused and that it was intentional. Additionally, evidence will need to establish that actual damage occurred and that there was no lawful purpose for the act.

As such, you typically couldn’t be charged with arson for burning trash in your yard. Even if this fire got out of control and caused a major incident with several destroyed buildings, the fact remains that the damage wasn’t intentional. Additionally, these charges are also unlikely to hold up if no property damage occurs. The prosecution may threaten you with such charges, but the evidence is all that matters.

Clearly, the facts of the case will dictate what charges can be proven. This is why you need an arson lawyer in Lakeland on your side. Let us help fight for a favorable outcome on your behalf.

What Are the Penalties of a Florida Arson Conviction?

Many people are surprised when they learn about the penalties for arson in Florida. After all, this charge is designated as a property crime. Most allegations in this category are charged as misdemeanors, but this isn’t the case for arson. In fact, arson can be charged as a first- or second-degree felony. This charging decision will depend on the type of building that was allegedly targeted.

For instance, the burning or explosion of any dwelling, structure occupied by people, or structure where people are typically present usually results in a first-degree arson charge. If convicted of this crime, an individual could face up to 30 years in prison. However, penalties are still serious even if a property is unoccupied. That’s because a second-degree arson charge in Florida can result in a 15-year prison sentence.

While these penalties are serious on their own, things can actually get much worse. For one, those convicted of the crime could face thousands of dollars in fines. An arson attorney in Lakeland may be able to help minimize such fines and other penalties. However, arson charges are often accompanied by additional allegations (e.g., fraud, vandalism, destroying evidence). In such cases, an arson conviction is merely a fraction of the problem.

Are There Potential Defenses for Arson Charges?

If you’re facing arson charges, the prosecutor will likely offer a plea deal. They’ll promise that it’s the best outcome you’ll get. They’ll frame the alternative — which is going to trial — as an unwise decision that will lead to more severe consequences. However, it’s important to realize that you’re not guilty just because you’ve been charged. Even if the prosecutor claims the evidence proves their case, this isn’t always true.

Consider some of the most common defenses to Florida arson charges:

  • Authority: Proving that you had the legal authority to start a fire can derail arson charges.
  • Accidental: An arson charge cannot be supported if the fire was started by accident.
  • Alibi: Providing evidence that you were not present or did not start a fire is often a stellar defense.
  • No damage: It’s frequently possible to show that the prosecution cannot prove actual damage to property.
  • Statute of limitations: The prosecution only has four years to bring first-degree arson charges.
  • Lack of evidence: A prosecutor must prove all elements of a crime. Otherwise, a conviction is unlikely.

Clearly, there are many options available when fighting these serious charges. However, you should speak with an arson lawyer in Lakeland first. They can help you decide the best defense strategy in your case. In some instances, an experienced criminal defense attorney can stop these charges from ever making it to trial. You need someone who’s committed to helping you secure a favorable outcome.

That’s exactly what you’ll find at DeMichael Law. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Contact an Arson Lawyer in Lakeland Today

For someone charged with arson in Florida, the stakes couldn’t be any higher. Individuals found guilty of the crime could spend as much time in prison as those convicted of killing someone. You want to avoid such an outcome at all costs. This process will look different depending on the circumstances of your case. However, it’s typically always in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney.

At DeMichael Law, we’re committed to ensuring our clients’ rights are protected. The system has railroaded far too many people over the years. Remember, it’s not your job to prove your innocence — it’s the state’s job to prove your guilt. Our law firm can fight to ensure this doesn’t happen, and if a conviction is unavoidable, we’ll work for the best outcome possible. Contact us today by calling (863) 216-1831 to schedule a consultation.

You need an arson lawyer in Lakeland on your side. We are here to assist.