If you are facing criminal arson charges in Phoenix, do not hesitate to contact Orent Law Offices for immediate assistance with your defense. Arson can carry some really harsh penalties, and you better believe the state is going to work hard to convict.
With our experienced Phoenix arson defense attorneys on your side, you can rest assured the prosecution won’t have an easy job. Give our Phoenix criminal defense law firm a call today to arrange a free consultation and learn more.
In broad terms, arson involves intentionally setting fire to or burning property. This property might belong to you or someone else. Since arson can be deadly, the state typically doesn’t hold back when prosecuting these types of cases.
In Arizona, there are actually four distinct arson charges.
Reckless burning is typically reserved for minor arson offenses. Under ARS 13-1702, reckless burning involves “recklessly causing a fire or explosion which results in damage to an occupied structure, a structure, wildland or property.”
What exactly is reckless behavior? Arizona law explains that conduct is reckless when “a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur.” In other words, you know that a certain behavior will cause something bad to happen, but do it anyway.
Example: Sam throws a lit cigarette into a pile of dry leaves next to a house. He should know that doing this could cause a fire, but does it anyway.
Under ARS 13-1703, arson of a structure of property involves “knowingly and unlawfully damaging a structure or property by knowingly causing a fire or explosion.”
Knowledge doesn’t mean that you know an act is illegal. Rather, knowledge refers to the fact that you know your actions will cause a fire or explosion.
Example: Joe sets his garage on fire so that he can recover insurance benefits.
Under ARS 13-1704, arson of an occupied structure involves “knowingly and unlawfully damaging an occupied structure by knowingly causing a fire or explosion.” It’s essentially the same crime as arson of a structure or property, with the expectation that someone is inside.
You do not have to specifically know that the building or property is occupied in order to be charged with this aggravated offense.
Example: Alex set fire to his girlfriend’s home while she was inside. The fact that he thought she wasn’t there is irrelevant.
Under ARS 13-1705, it is a crime to “knowingly causing a fire or explosion” to an occupied jail or prison facility “which results in physical damage.”
Arson can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Arizona. The level of the charge depends on the specific offense and consideration of any mitigating or aggravating factors. So, the state will consider whether anyone was hurt, the degree of damage to property, and whether or not you have a criminal record when pressing charges.
Reckless burning is typically a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Arizona, punishable by up to six months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Arson of a structure or property can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the damaged property:
A Class 5 Felony can land you in prison for up to two years, while a Class 4 Felony can mean two-and-a-half years behind bars.
Arson of an occupied structure is usually a Class 2 Felony, punishable by five years in a Phoenix state prison. You may face additional criminal charges and penalties if the occupant is injured or killed.
Arson of an occupied jail or prison facility is a Class 4 Felony. If convicted, you face a maximum of two-and-a-half years in prison.
An arson conviction can mean more than jail time, probation, restitution, and fines. You will also face collateral consequences for years to come, even after you’ve completed your state-imposed punishment.
Collateral consequences are social and civil penalties that exist simply because of your criminal record. The consequences tend to be more severe for felony offenses. However, any arson conviction can have severe repercussions throughout your life.
Collateral consequences of an arson conviction in Phoenix can include:
So, there’s much more at stake than you think when you’re facing criminal arson charges in Phoenix. That’s why it’s critical to enlist the help of a qualified Phoenix criminal defense attorney. Our team has decades of experience and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome in your arson case. Give us a call today to learn more.
Remember, state prosecutors have the burden of proving that you are guilty of arson. They have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a difficult thing to do. You can make their job even more challenging by having our Phoenix arson attorneys handle your defense.
At Orent Law Offices, we’ll be your fiercest advocate and do everything in our power to stop the state from proving its case against you.
How? We’ll carefully investigate your case from start to finish. We’ll speak with law enforcement, gather and review evidence, and interview witnesses. We’ll bring in experts to help us really understand what happened, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and build a strong defense. We’ll comb relevant case law for strategies and arguments that might work on your behalf. If there’s a defense strategy that could help you, we’ll use it.
Examples of defenses that are typically used in defense of arson charges include:
During our investigation, we’ll analyze your interactions with the police and scrutinize how they handled your case. If we find any reason to believe that your rights have been violated, we’ll bring it up with the judge and ask to have your arrest, state evidence, or your entire case thrown out.
Arizona cannot benefit from an unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure, or other violations of your rights. If our request is successful, the prosecution will probably have to reconsider its case. If this happens, you might be offered a plea bargain or find that the charges are dropped altogether.
When you’re facing arson charges in Phoenix, Arizona, we know that your future is on the line. That’s why our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers will do everything in their power to secure the best possible outcome in your case. We’ve been representing arson defendants in Maricopa County for decades.
We know the prosecutors who will be trying your case. We know the tactics they’ll employ to get a conviction. Better yet, we know how to counter their moves and make it incredibly difficult to get a conviction.
You can trust that our team will go above and beyond to help you beat your criminal arson charges. Simply give our Phoenix law firm a call to schedule a free initial case assessment. Our legal team will review your case, provide a brief overview of your rights, and answer any questions that you might have.