Arson Attorneys in Austin, TX
Is Arson a Felony in Texas?
According to Texas penal code, ‘a person commits an [arson] offense if the person starts a fire, regardless
of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with
intent to destroy or damage [property].’ In Texas, arson is considered a second-degree
felony, punishable by two to 20 years in state prison. Moreover, if the fire
involves a church or someone is hurt or killed, the crime becomes a first-degree
felony, which could carry a life sentence.
In this instance, property in Texas arson cases includes vegetation, fences,
any structure on open-land, buildings, habitation, and vehicles. It is
the simple act of starting a fire with the motive to cause destruction
and/or damage that makes the action arson, no matter how big the fire
actually gets. Therefore, it is very easy to be convicted of a very serious
crime for doing little to no damage at all.
There are many different motives for arson. Some of the most common motives
prosecutors use include:
Starting a Fire for Insurance Purposes or Other Security Interests - Often times, people charged with arson are believed by prosecution to have
ignited a fire to property to ultimately win an insurance payout, and
therefore, make money. For instance, the Texas penal code notes that simply
knowing that a piece of property is insured could be considered a reason
for committing arson. For this reason, arson is a very speculative crime,
and it is very easy to convict an innocent person. At Carroll Troberman,
PLLC, we recognize that you would never burn property for monetary gain
and the accusations may simply be incorrect.
Starting a Fire as a Hate Crime - As most history books will tell, arson has been a common form of hate crime
for centuries, and Texas law enforcement is well aware of this. For this
reason, in an attempt to prevent hate crimes from occurring in Texas,
arson penalties are harshened for a fire that damages a place of worship,
such as a church or mosque. Although these laws are meant to prevent hate
crimes in Texas, because of this old association, it is very easy to label
an accidental fire as a hate crime.
Starting a Fire Out of Recklessness - According to the Texas penal code, a person can commit arson ‘when the person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will
endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of
another.’ This definition sounds very close to an accident, and therefore there
is a very fine line between an accidental fire and a felony.
Hire an arson attorney who can make this distinction and get your case
Call us today.
Arson Cases are Very Circumstantial
Most of the time, there are no eyewitnesses to name the person who started
a fire. Therefore, many arson cases are based on hearsay and speculation.
For this reason, if you are charged with arson, there is a good chance
that an experienced arson attorney can get your case dismissed out of
lack of evidence.
Most of the time, fires are started by irresponsible and reckless teens
out of thrill and curiosity. Do not let yourself get blamed for starting
a fire and committing arson; it can change your life forever, causing
you to live as a felon for the rest of your days. You do not deserve the
ruthless criminal punishment for such a circumstantial crime.
Texas Fire Marshall Involvement
When there is an arson case, the Texas Fire Marshall will lead an investigation,
along with prosecutors, to try and find the cause and culprit of the damage.
The Texas Fire Marshall uses their own forensic laboratory and highly
trained dogs to find evidence to form a case against you. You need an
Austin arson defense lawyer who can intricately begin to build your case
to defend your name.
At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, our experienced and dedicated attorneys can
start an investigation by using police reports and gathering witnesses
and other evidence to create a strong, soundproof defense for your case.
You Need an Aggressive Property Crimes Attorney in Austin
You can be charged with arson regardless of your intention. Even accidentally
starting a fire that damages property or harms others can land you with
an arson charge. A felony on your criminal record can follow you for the
rest of your life. Many employers see it as a liability and won’t
hire felons. Even more, you may also have trouble finding a landlord who
will rent to you and your family.
You will not be disappointed with the defense lawyers at Carroll Troberman,
Blair Carroll and
Shelly Troberman are experienced in the field, respected by their peers, and well-versed
in the Austin court system. For instance, Blair Carroll has practiced
criminal defense in courts across the state. He is a member of the Texas
Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and of the National Association of
Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Meredith “Shelly” Troberman is a member of the Texas Trial
Lawyers Association and the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
She has worked on both sides of the aisle in Travis County criminal proceedings
and knows exactly how to protect her clients against prosecution tactics.
The sooner you
call us, the sooner we can schedule an appointment with you and begin building
your case. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we care about our clients and promise
to fight tirelessly for your rights. Give us a call today to set up a
free, confidential consultation.