Arson is a serious crime that is committed when someone intentionally or recklessly sets fire to their own or someone else’s property. Arson can be charged in the first, second, third, or fourth degree, depending on the nature of the crime. Anyone who is charged with this crime can face severe consequences, including years behind bars. But fortunately, an arson charge does not always lead to a conviction. Here are some of the most common defense strategies used in arson cases:
The Fire Was Accidental
In order to be convicted of first, second, or third degree arson, the prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant intentionally set the property on fire. If there is evidence that shows the defendant was responsible for the fire, the criminal defense attorney may not try to disprove this fact. Instead, attorneys can argue that the defendant did not intend on starting the fire. If it can be proven that the fire was an accident, the charges may be dropped or reduced to fourth degree arson.
There Was No Intent to Defraud
Defendants who are facing third degree arson charges are being accused of setting fire to something in an attempt to defraud insurance companies or other parties. When representing these clients, criminal defense attorneys often focus on showing that the defendant did not intend on defrauding anyone. If the defendant did not have this intention, the charges may be reduced.
The Investigation Was Incomplete
Law enforcement officials investigating the fire often conclude that someone committed arson if they are unable to determine the exact cause of the fire. If there is insufficient evidence of arson, a criminal defense attorney can hire a private investigator and other expert witnesses to analyze the evidence gathered from the scene. In some cases, these expert witnesses are able to find major flaws in the investigation, such as witnesses that weren’t questioned or evidence that wasn’t tested. This strategy can be used to create doubt in jurors’ minds by showing them that the investigation was flawed. Sometimes, this strategy can convince the jury that the investigators simply blamed the fire on someone because they were unable to identify the true cause and eager to wrap up the investigation.
Have you been charged with arson? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will use a unique defense strategy to protect your freedom. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.