Anyone who goes out and intentionally burns an item that doesn't belong to them could find themselves being charged with arson. The main goal of charging individuals with arson was to prevent someone from being burned alive inside of their own homes. The laws surrounding arson today involve burning any property. It doesn't have to be a building, home, structure or somewhere that someone is inside. It can simply be a piece of land, building, or someone's property. If you find yourself facing criminal charges for arson, there are a few different elements that must be met before they can convict you. Your attorney can help you prove whether these elements existed or not.
You cannot commit arson if you didn't intentionally burn another individuals' property. If you started a fire and it accidentally burned someone's property, that isn't arson. You have to set out to burn someone else's property without having their permission and by accident. The prosecutor needs to show that the situation in question involved your wanting to burn another individual's property, even if you say you didn't intend to.
Depending on where you live, the laws surrounding arson are going to vary. Some states will charge you with arson if you were reckless. This means that you knew you were doing something dangerous and didn't care. You still continued doing it knowing that you could cause damage to someone else's property or their buildings. Some states charge this as a different crime, while others charge it as arson.
Personal Property Fraud
While the majority of cases surrounding arson are those where you caused damage to someone else's property, there are cases where you can be charged with arson by setting fire to your own belongings. To be charged with this crime, it has to be where you did it to defraud someone, such as the insurance company. If your fire causes damage to surrounding structures and property, you can be charged with arson as well. Setting fire to your property is one thing, but not when it causes damage to someone else's belongings or you use it to collect money from the insurance company.
While being charged with arson is one thing, the prosecutor has to be able to prove their case. Your lawyer will work to show that you did not intentionally set out to destroy someone else's property or defraud your insurance company for a payout. Don't fret; turn to a trusted lawyer who can help.
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