Arson Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia
Arson is a serious crime, often resulting in both state and federal charges. Additionally, the crime of arson may be just one of a number of crimes an individual may be charged with for what is ultimately the same act (i.e. burning property or causing it to explode). This is because there are a vast number of reasons for which a person may attempt arson; ranging from insurance fraud to destruction of another's property to attempted murder. If you are facing charges for arson, as well as other related crimes, you will need legal representation. Call the Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys.
What is Arson?
A charge for arson is either for endangering people or property. However, the two crimes share the same core in that they stem from one intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion. Whether one starts a fire or causes an explosion themselves or aids, counsels, pays or agrees to pay another to do so, one has committed the crime of arson.
In Pennsylvania, common arson charges include:
- Arson endangering persons - In conjunction with the above definition...
a. one commits a felony of the first degree if:
i. He recklessly places another person in danger of death or bodily injury, including but not limited to a firefighter, police officer or other person actively engaged in fighting the fire; or
ii. He commits the act with the purpose of destroying or damaging an inhabited building or occupied structure of another.
b. one commits murder of the second degree if the fire or explosion causes the death of any person, including those mentioned above, and is guilty of murder of the first degree if the fire or explosion causes the death of any person and was set with the purpose of causing the death of another person.
2. Arson endangering property - In conjunction with the above definition...
a. One commits a felony of the second degree if:
i. He commits the act with the intent of destroying or damaging a building or unoccupied structure of another;
ii. He thereby recklessly places an inhabited building or occupied structure of another in danger of damage or destruction; or
iii. He commits the act with the intent of destroying or damaging any property, whether his own or of another, to collect insurance for such loss.
This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list. There are a number of other property related crimes which fall under the purview of arson. If you have been charged with any crime which you know or expect to be related to arson, you should contact counsel immediately.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
As you can see in the provided definitions of arson, intent and/or manner of action or inaction are crucial to the crime. Each above example requires either intent or recklessness. It is the prosecution's burden to prove either one. Your counsel will endeavor to prevent them from doing so and ensure that any court or jury is well aware of the prosecution's burden. Counsel will gather evidence and/or witnesses to call intent or recklessness into question. Assuming the prosecution is able to make their case, otherwise, this is the element upon which the case will hinge.
As you can see, this legal element is crucial to resolving your case and you would be best served by retaining counsel to do so. The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. is ready to fight for you. Call today to schedule an appointment.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.