Arson Charges in Waco?
Arson is the act of intentionally setting a fire or causing an explosion with the express intent to damage or destroy a building, structure, vehicle or other target. This definition applies even if the fire or explosion fizzled out and was unable to carry out the intended damage. Thomas C. West is a board certified criminal defense lawyer and former McLennan County prosecutor. His experience as prosecutor can help provide important strategy and spot weakness in the prosecution’s case. Call him at 254-753-6437 for a free 30 minute consultation.
Criminal arson has the added definition of starting a fire or explosion with reckless disregard for the safety of others. To bring a charge of criminal arson against someone, the alleged crime scene will be examined for clues pointing to the intentions of the alleged arsonist. This is done in an attempt to show that the alleged arsonist committed several actions that fulfill requirements for a criminal arson charge. They include:
- The defendant committed the arson while knowing that their target was insured against damage or destruction.
- The defendant knew that certain property located inside the targeted location belonged to another person.
Arson Penalties in McLennan County
- A conviction for arson is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison. An arson event that damaged a church or caused injury is a first-degree felony that can be punished by life in prison.
- Many small cases of arson are prosecuted as criminal mischief. A conviction for criminal mischief in which $50 or less of property was damaged is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not more than $500. Arson that damages up to $1,500 in property is a class A misdemeanor that can carry a one-year jail sentence.
Defending Against Arson Charges in Waco and McLennan County
Arson attorneys may attempt to fight arson charges in several ways. For instance, an arson charges attorney might argue that the defendant had no way of knowing the damaged property was owned by someone else. The arson attorney might also argue that there is not enough evidence to link their client to the arson crime. If you have been accused of arson in McLennan County, you need to call an attorney experienced handling these charges. Defense attorney Thomas C. West is a former prosecutor who used to bring arson charges against Defendants. He is board-certified in Criminal Law, which is a distinction held by very few criminal defense attorneys. If you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Waco, call Thomas West at 254-753-6437.