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Arson Charge Explained


What is Arson?

Arson is a felony that is recognized in the majority of developed nations throughout the world. An individual will receive a charge of arson if they intentionally and maliciously set fire to a structure or wooded area.

The criminal codes and statutes for an arson charge will vary based upon the location in which the action was committed. Arson is held separate from other actions that may precipitate a fire, such as natural wildfires or spontaneous combustion. The separation between such actions stems from the attached malicious behavior.

The malicious behavior needed for an arson charge simply implies that a fire was deliberately set to a property or areas to inflict damage, harm, or collect insurance compensation. The term malicious is a common law term which means the action in question was delivered with cruel intentions.

The common law definition of “burning” which is included in the definition of arson refers to the charring to any part of a structure. Significant damage to the structure does not need to be realized for a charge of arson to be delivered.

What to do if you are accused of Arson

In the United States, the common law elements of arson are interpreted differently based on the jurisdiction. For example, the inclusion of a “dwelling” is required in some states and not others for an arson charge to be realized.

Arson is prosecuted with the attention to degree of severity in the underlying offense. First degree arson occurs when people are harmed or killed in the course of the fire, whereas second degree arson occurs when significant damage to a property is realized. As a result of the varied classifications, arson may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The penalties for arson are attached to the intentions of the perpetrator, the damage inflicted from the fire, and the human damage realized from the actions. As a result of this, arson can carry a sentence of life in prison or can be viewed as a misdemeanor. Regardless of the severity of the action, if you or a loved one has been charged with arson it is fundamentally essential to seek the aid of a criminal attorney.

Due Process

In the United States, due process is defined as the Government’s obligation to respect, and uphold the legal rights of its citizen in the event of an arrest. The human rights and liberties aligned with due process include: fair, respectful, and ethical treatment devoid of undue violence and harm. Regardless of the charge, this process must be distributed to all individuals in the United States.

Habeas Corpus

Those arrested because of arson are afforded basic civil rights through the delivery of Habeas Corpus. Habeas Corpus entitles individuals, regardless of the charge, to the right to a trial in a court of law and unbiased review of all the evidence and facts attached to the predicament. Furthermore, all individuals are granted the right to legal representation.

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