Property destruction can take on many forms. Some people might face criminal charges for vandalizing a property. Others might face charges for burglary. Another possibility is that a person might be charged with arson if he or she is suspected of using fire to destroy a structure. Arson charges are very serious charges that are classified as felony charges because arson can result in serious bodily harm, death and property destruction.
You might face arson charges if you are accused of willfully and intentionally setting fire to any structure, including residential, commercial, industrial or storage. Generally, the severity of the charges you are facing will depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, if you are accused of burning down an occupied structure, your charges will usually be more serious than if you are accused of burning down an abandoned structure that is in the middle of nowhere.
The motivation for the arson has an impact on the charges. Additionally, the circumstances of the case might mean that other charges are included on top of the arson charges. If the arson was to collect insurance money, it is possible to face arson charges in conjunction with insurance fraud charges. If you are accused of maliciously setting fire to a structure, such as a home, you might face other charges such as attempted murder.
When it comes to a defense against arson charges, you have to be well prepared. Arson cases are investigated by professionals who receive specialized training and use specialized methods to determine what happened. This means that your defense has to take those factors into consideration.
Source: FindLaw, "Arson," accessed Nov. 27, 2015