A conviction for arson can lead to severe penalties, including prison sentences, lengthy probation terms, a criminal record, restitution and hefty fines. Contact Gainesville, Florida Attorney and former prosecutor Kevin Robertson for immediate, local help with your arson case. Please call (352) 275-7491 today to discuss your legal options and defense strategy.
Law enforcement officers in Florida usually conduct an investigation after a fire or explosion to determine if the fire resulted from foul play. If foul play is found and the alleged offender is arrested, the prosecution typically prosecutes these cases based on circumstantial evidence because it is difficult to find a witness who saw the accused start the fire. The alleged offender may be accused based on suspicions of wanting to collect insurance money or to hide evidence from another crime.
Dwellings or Structures
The crime of Arson can occur either in dwellings or structures. These types of properties are defined below:
Dwelling, Definition: According to Florida Statutes § 810.011, a dwelling is a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, permanent or temporary building or conveyance, or mobile building or conveyance that has a roof and is designed for people to stay in overnight.
Structure, Definition: Fla. Stat. § 806.01 defines a structure as a building of any kind, including roofed enclosed areas temporary or permanent buildings, any real property, any tent or portable building, or any vehicle, vessel, watercraft or aircraft.
Gainesville, Florida Arson Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with an arson offense in Gainesville, Florida, contact Gainesville Arson Defense Attorney Kevin Robertson today. Mr. Robertson will fully investigate your case, interview witnesses, locate experts and advocate on your behalf to defend your rights and reputation. Please call (352) 275-7491 and let’s talk about how I can help you with your case.
Florida’s Arson Laws and Statutes
Arson in the First Degree – Fla. Stat. § 806.01: An individual can be charged with this offense if they willfully and unlawfully or while committing any felony by using fire or explosion, damage or cause to be damaged:
- Any dwelling or its contents;
- Any structure or its contents when persons are normally present (like businesses, hospitals or jails), or
- Any other structure the alleged offender knew or had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human.
Arson in the first degree is punishable as a felony of the first degree.
Arson in the Second Degree – Fla. Stat. § 806.01(2): If the alleged offender willfully and unlawfully or while committing a felony by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged any structure under any other circumstances not included in arson in the first degree, the offense is punishable as a felony of the second degree.
Arson resulting in injury to another – Fla. Stat. § 810.031: An individual can be charged with this offense if they commit any arson that results in bodily harm to any person, including firefighters. The individual is not required to have intent to cause harm to the other person. This offense could result in a conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree.
If the arson offense results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to any other person regardless of intent to cause the harm, the alleged offender could be charged with a felony of the second degree.
Gainesville, Florida Arson Penalties
- A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or not more than one year in jail.
- A felony of the second degree is punishable by no more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
- A felony of the first degree burglary can result in a prison sentence not more than 30 years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
If an alleged arson offender is considered a habitual felony offender, habitual violent felony offender, a three-time violent felony offender, or a violent career criminal, the arson offense can result in an increased prison sentence if convicted.