Tucson Arson Defense Attorney

Arson is a very serious crime which involves maliciously setting fire to a structure, property, or area of wild land. Those charged often had a motive to destroy the property which could range from seeking revenge to an attempt to collect insurance compensation for a fire-damaged home. Fire investigators and law enforcement thoroughly investigate arson and related reckless burning charges, and you could be subject to lengthy incarceration. The serious nature of these felony charges makes it imperative to contact a Tucson arson defense attorney as soon as possible to assemble your defense.

The Law Office of Carlos A. Medina, PLLC provides aggressive criminal defense for those charged with property crimes such as arson. Call (520) 251-9561 to set up your free case evaluation today.

Unintentional Versus Intentional Fires

Your criminal defense attorney might be able to make the argument that you set a fire unintentionally if you have been charged with an arson offense. Reckless burning is such a charge. It may involve a person who tossed a cigarette butt while out on a hike in one of Arizona’s beautiful wildlands and accidentally starting a fire. This is still illegal, however, and will be criminally prosecuted. Starting an accidental fire is called reckless burning, and it is a misdemeanor. If the person who set the fire had no criminal record, a skilled criminal defense attorney in Tucson may be able to reduce your charges or see that you only get probation in a plea agreement.

Setting a fire intentionally, however, is a felony charge, and Arizona has harsh punishment for arson charges. The circumstances of your arson charge can increase or decrease the associated punishment, too. For example, it is a much more heinous crime to set fire to an occupied building when people are sleeping than to set fire to an abandoned building.

Criminal punishment for Arson Charges

punishment vary based on the value of the property a person is convicted of burning, their intent, and other circumstances, such as your criminal record being taken into account. The most severe punishment are reserved for arson of a structure, which is a class 4 felony punishable by a minimum prison term of 18 months, plus hefty fines, and restitution (if applicable). If the structure you burned was occupied, punishment are enhanced, per Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1704. This class 2 felony carries a minimum prison term of 4 years.

How Is Arson Proven?

It is a mistake to think that burning property, a structure, or wildlands cannot be proven. Evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, is not always lost through fire damage. In fact, fire investigators can prove arson with their in-depth knowledge about fire accelerants, fire behavior, and more. They can find the source of the blaze, and this alone can be very telling and can show if the fire was set intentionally or not. Fire investigators will ask the firefighters who first responded to the scene to describe details such as the color of the smoke from the fire, if any sprinkler systems were damaged, the condition of the doors and windows, and any strange behavior of the flames.

Common signs of arson include:

  • Multiple point of origin
  • Lack of accidental causes
  • Evidence of forced entry
  • Absence of valuable items left behind
  • Presence of fire accelerants
  • Unusual smoke color
  • Damaged sprinkler systems
  • Environmental modifications, such as windows propped open

Law enforcement will also look to prove a motive, such as whether the arson was committed to conceal an additional crime, or if you recently increased your property insurance coverage and might have set the fire to collect from an insurance claim.

Facing Arson Charges? Contact a Tucson Criminal Defense Attorney

The Law Office of Carlos A. Medina, PLLC believe you are innocent until proven guilty. As a skilled criminal defense attorney, Carlos A. Medina provides aggressive defense to protect your legal rights, even if he has to battle your case out in a court trial.

Don’t handle your criminal arson case alone. Hire the Law Office of Carlos A. Medina for help navigating the criminal just system by calling (520) 251-9561 today to set up a free case evaluation.

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  • If I’m innocent, do I really need an attorney?
    Guilt or innocence aside, your future is in jeopardy in the face of criminal allegations. You need an attorney who can protect your rights to show the judge and jury that you are innocent. Legal processes must be followed, and attempts by the prosecuting attorney and law enforcement to secure a conviction must be effectively countered. Even if you are innocent, you need a professional to handle your case.
  • What is a plea agreement? Should I accept it?
    A plea agreement typically involves lesser charges or punishment offered in exchange for a plea of guilty or no contest. Do not accept a plea offer without first talking to your attorney. You need to be certain that this is in your best interests. In some cases, a skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to fight your charges and help you avoid a conviction altogether – which is far more advantageous than any plea agreement.
  • If I refuse to give a statement or answer a question, will I face criminal charges?
    As already mentioned, you have the right to remain silent. You can politely refuse to answer questions posed to you by a police officer, and you should not face criminal charges simply for exercising this right. Depending on the situation, however, you may still be arrested and taken into custody. Be sure to request to speak to your attorney, who may be able to challenge an unlawful arrest.
  • What are my rights if I'm arrested?
    If you’re arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you. These rights are essential, as anything you say or do after you are taken into custody may be used against you in court. Exercise your rights and protect your interests.
  • Do I have to consent to a search of my home or vehicle?
    The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution offers protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that law enforcement cannot simply search you or your property or make an arrest without probable cause. You have the right to refuse a law enforcement officer’s request to search your car or your home, but if they have a warrant or believe they have probable cause, they may be able to conduct a search. If you believe your property was illegally searched, an attorney can assess the situation and determine whether this can be used to your advantage in challenging your arrest or charges.