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Felony Arson Charges and Possible Defenses in Arizona

Felony Arson Charges and Possible Defenses in Arizona

Arson is a serious crime in the state of Arizona, pursuant by A.R.S. §13-1703 and §13-1704 “Arson” takes place when an individual knowingly and unlawfully causes a fire or an explosion that damages property or a structure. If you were charged with Arson, and need an Arson attorney, contact DM Cantor for a free consultation (602) 307- 0808.

What Punishments can You Get if Convicted of Arson?

  • Class 2 Felony Arson – Being charged with arson can be bad, however, it’s even worse if the property was occupied, then you could be facing a class two (2) felony.

The punishment for a class two (2) felony may include probation with zero (0) days to one (1) year jail time or three (3) years to 12 and a half (12.5) years in jail. If the individual being tried has one previous allegeable conviction, then the range for “prison only” can be from four and a half (4.5) years to twenty-three and a quarter (23.25) years of incarceration. If the individual has two (2) prior allegeable convictions, then the range for “prison only” can be from ten and a half (10.5) years to thirty-five (35) years in prison.

  • Class 4 Felony Arson – If the property was not occupied, or the structure is worth more than $1000.00 in value, then the individual could be looking at being charged with a class four (4) felony for Arson.

The punishment for a class four (4) felony may include probation with zero (0) days to up to one (1) year spent in jail, or prison time can range from one (1) year to three and three quarter (3.75) years. If the individual being tried has one prior allegeable conviction, then the range for “prison only” can be from two and a quarter (2.25) years to seven and a half (7.5) years in jail. If the individual has two (2) prior allegeable convictions, then the range for “prison only” can be from six (6) to fifteen (15) years in prison.

  • Class 5 Felony Arson – If the property’s value is worth over $100.00 but less than $1000.00, then the individual can face being charged with a class five (5) felony of Arson.

The punishment for a class five (5) felony may include probation with zero (0) days to up to one (1) year of incarceration, or prison time of six (6) months to two and a half (2.5) years spent in custody. If the individual was alleged previously for a felony conviction, then the range for “prison only” can be from one (1) year to three and three quarter (3.75) years in jail. If the individual has two (2) prior allegeable felony convictions, then the range for “prison only” can be from three (3) years to seven and a half (7.5) years in jail.

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor – If the property has a value of $100.00 or less, then the Arson charge can be a class one (1) misdemeanor.

Possible punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor may include probation and a range from zero (0) days to up to six (6) months in prison with up to $2500.00 of fines plus a surcharge of 84 percent.

In addition, if someone was injured in the fire, then a charge of “Aggravated Assault” can also be brought up against the suspect, depending on the extent and level of the suffered injuries.


Best Defense Possibilities for Arson Charges

Arson charges often come from the insurance company trying to put the blame on the defendant so they won’t have to pay an expensive claim.

Showing the defendant did not have the necessary intent, is the key in defending against an Arson charge; when the defendant started the fire, they had no intention of burning a property or structure.

A property can burn to the ground as a result of many household accidents. For instance, the wires of new TV equipment could short circuit and catch on fire during installation. Therefore, it may be necessary to have our own investigators check for defective appliances, faulty wiring, or gas line hook-ups, and more that could have possibly contributed to the fire starting. Also, it is imperative to examine all aspects of the evidence — including detective reports — to ensure that nothing has been misconstrued.

ATV Starting Fire in Dead GrassWe would also argue that just because the defendant started the fire, doesn’t mean he knowingly did it to damage a structure or property. Take, for example, a camper who lights a campfire (he knowingly started the fire) that spreads and burns out of control burning down buildings in its path. This incident would not qualify as Arson since, although he knowingly lit the campfire, he did not know it would spread and burn down buildings. Similarly, an example would be someone riding an ATV through tall, dead grass. The heat from the exhaust could potentially start a fire. The rider did not deliberately intend to start a fire.

Another example is striking a match to light a cigarette then tossing it into a trashcan that goes up in flames and burns a house down; the defendant did not intend to burn down a house, he just wanted to light his cigarette.


Miranda Rights and Denial of Counsel

Because we fight criminal cases from every possible angle, our law firm would emphasize a wide range of challenges and defenses to constitutional violations that may apply to all conviction charges. There are numerous angles, possibilities, and loopholes that we may utilize including the assertion of a “Miranda rights violation.”

According to Arizona standards, any statement that may be incriminating (i.e., a statement that admits guilt) is only admissible as evidence based upon a “voluntary” standard. If we can show that you were coerced (i.e., tricked or intimidated) by the police into making an inculpatory statement or a confession, or they failed to properly read your Miranda Rights to you, then we can abolish those statements along with any other gathered evidence that directly resulted from them.

A “denial of the right to counsel” can also be used in your defense if, while you were being held in custody, you asked to speak to a lawyer, but your request was denied and questioning continued. Another possible defense strategy that we may include is to question the search warrant’s validity, or whether there may have been any “forensic flaws” during your investigation. Exposing flawed procedures depends on the other charges brought against you as well, and can regard…

  • Breath, blood, and urine testing
  • DNA testing
  • Fingerprints analysis
  • Ballistics
  • Gunshot residue testing
  • Computer analysis/hard drive cloning procedures
  • Forensic financial account reviews
  • And more

Finally, exposing misleading or sloppy police reports is a defense tactic that we most commonly use. This may include anything from false statements to misstatements, or inaccurate crime scene reconstruction to flawed photo line-ups


Why You Should Hire the Best Arson Attorney for Your Case

Because there are a lot of good things in life that depends on a clean criminal record, it is important that you hire a professional Arson attorney to defend you if you have been charged with Arson or are in a pre-charge/ investigation stage of a criminal case. It is better to not be charged at all than to be charged and have the charges dropped even if it’s just five (5) minutes later.

David Michael Cantor is a professional Arson attorney in Phoenix, Arizona who, per the “Arizona Board of Legal Specialization” is certified as a criminal law specialist.

Our law firm has an AV® Rating, which is the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®. In addition, all of the attorneys of the firm and the Law firm of DM Cantor itself are noted in the list of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®.

The Arson Attorneys at DM Cantor Law group in Phoenix, AZ., know all about the laws in Arizona and how the system works as the majority of them, are ex-prosecutors.

We have helped others convicted of Arson and can help you too. Call us for a free consultation at 602-307-0808 or click here to contact us now.

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