Arson

Arson in Florida

Arson is intentionally setting a fire to, or causing an explosion in, a dwelling or structure, or any fire or explosion that occurs while committing a felony. Arson is a very serious offense, but remarkably technical in its proof. If you or a loved one has been accused of Arson in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach county, call our office to speak to one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Definition of Arson in Florida

Arson, as defined by § 806.01, Florida Statutes, involves willfully and unlawfully causing a fire or explosion in a dwelling or structure. Arson includes causing a fire or explosion in a dwelling or structure while committing a felony.

For Arson in the First Degree, the State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of Arson by establishing the following two (2) elements of the crime:

(1) The defendant willfully and unlawfully caused a fire or explosion, or while engaged in the commission of a felony caused a fire or explosion; and

(2) The fire or explosion damaged one of the following:

(a) A dwelling or its contents whether it was occupied or not; or

(b) A structure or its contents where persons are normally present at the time of the fire or explosion that caused the damage; or

(c) A structure that the defendant had reason to know would be occupied by a person at the time of the fire or explosion.

For Arson in the Second Degree, the State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime of Arson by establishing the following two (2) elements of the crime:

(1) The defendant willfully and unlawfully caused a fire or explosion, or while engaged in the commission of a felony caused a fire or explosion; and

(2) The fire or explosion damaged a structure owned by the defendant or another; and the circumstances do not meet any condition for Arson in the First Degree.

In order to convict the defendant of Arson, it is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant intended to damage the structure.

Penalties for Arson in Florida

(1) Arson in the First Degree is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.

(2) Arson in the Second Degree is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.

Note: Any defendant previously convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in Florida who is subsequently convicted of another felony is subject to enhanced penalties or a mandatory minimum prison term as provided in § 775.084.

Defenses to Arson in Florida

(1) Mistaken identity

(2) Solid alibi

(3) The fire was not deliberately set

(4) The fire was accidentally or recklessly and carelessly set, but not willfully or deliberately

(5) Insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

Examples of Arson in Florida

(1) Intentionally setting a fire in a home, house of worship, or occupied building

(2) Intentionally burning an unoccupied building

(3) Intentionally starting a fire to collect insurance

(4) Intentionally causing a fire in a forest or field

(5) Breaking into a building to rob it then knocking over a lantern causing a fire

Contact Us

If you have been charged with the crime of Arson in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach County, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., can help you better understand your situation and your options. Contact us today for your free consultation.