Philadelphia Arson Criminal Defense Lawyer
Arson is a serious crime, and often results in both state and federal level 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 and other related crimes, you will need zealous 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 and How Do We Defend Against It?
Arson is an intentionally set fire. Even if there is no profit motive, or motive to injure someone, the fact the fire is intentionally set makes it a crime. Arson therefore, is a legal conclusion.
There are many types of intentionally set fires, and therefore many ways to defend against arson. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. have decades of experience handling arson cases and can defend any category of arson. Those categories are: arson for profit (when a person wants to collect insurance money by burning something), arson to injure people, arson to cover up a larger crime, and arson where someone lights a fire intentionally for any other reason.
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…
- one commits a felony of the first degree if:
- 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
- He commits the act with the purpose of destroying or damaging an inhabited building or occupied structure of another.
- 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.
- Arson endangering property – In conjunction with the above definition…
- One commits a felony of the second degree if:
- He commits the act with the intent of destroying or damaging a building or unoccupied structure of another;
- He thereby recklessly places an inhabited building or occupied structure of another in danger of damage or destruction; or
- 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 a fully exhaustive list. There are a number of other property related crimes which also 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 from the provided definitions of arson, intent and/or manner of action or inaction are vital in determining the crime. Each above example requires either intent or recklessness. It is the prosecution’s burden to prove either one, depending on the charges. 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 rest.
As you can see, this legal element is essential to resolving your case, and you would be best served by retaining counsel to do so. A good lawyer often means the difference between a favorable result and an unfavorable one. The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. is ready to fight for you. Call today to schedule an appointment, and a free consultation.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.