Arson in the First Degree O.C.G.A. 16-7-60

Choose the Best Atlanta Georgia Attorney to prove Your Innocence in Your Arson Charges

You are maybe be terrified right now. You are suspected of or were arrested for first degree arson. If you are a loved one responsible for helping someone resolve their arson charge, you are really feeling the pressure.

The state separates the crime of arson into four categories called degrees. If you are researching first degree arson, you or your loved one was charged with the most serious of all arson charges.

First degree arson is defined under the Georgia criminal statute 16-7-60

The general definition of arson is the criminal act of using an explosive or fire to knowingly damage property. You can also be charged with arson for knowingly causing damage to a property by causing someone to commit arson. This “cause” may be to:

  • Advise
  • Aid
  • Abet
  • Encourage
  • Hire procure
  • Counsel

Based on your alleged action, the individual committed the arson crime.

The Elements of a First Degree Arson Charge in Atlanta Georgia

You are accused of first degree arson. This means you allegedly used an explosive or fire to damage property. You may not have actually committed the crime, but caused someone else to do it. Georgia law specifies the type of property damaged by fire or an explosive as:

  • A dwelling house belonging to another person. You allegedly started the fire without their consent. The property owner is someone who has a security interest such as a mortgage.
  • Building, watercraft, vehicle, railroad car or another structure. Again, the owner of the building did not give consent to the arson.
  • Building, railroad car, vehicle or structure that is occupied, vacant or unoccupied. The act was done to harm the owner.
  • Building, structure, vehicle or railroad care where an alleged victim’s life was in danger because of the fire

The Punishment is Outlined According to 16-7-60

Anyone convicted of first degree arson will face a felony punishment. Felony punishment for first degree arson is one to 20 years in prison. It also includes a $50,000 fine. The judge may decide to give both the prison sentence and fine as punishment.

Defending Your First Degree Arson Charge in Atlanta Georgia

You have actual defenses to avoid criminal liability. The only thing you have to do is tell your truthful version of what happened before, during and after the alleged arson. Another thing you can do is know the difference between a defense and a plea deal. A plea deal requires you to admit guilt in exchange for a lighter sentence. A defense allows you to fight the arson charge. Below are some common defenses to arson in the first degree:

Lack of intent to burn anything. You have to have the requisite intent to commit arson. If you made a mistake or the burning just occurred, you cannot be charged with arson.

The fire was caused by accident. This is another type of lack of intent defense. You claim that you did start the fire. So you admit to the crime, but you do it for a reason. You claim that it was a mistake. You did not mean to do it.

Mistaken identity is another defense. You are not guilty because someone else caused the fire. You did not set fire and you did not aid the one who did it. Someone else committed the crime, but you are being blamed for it.

You have an alibi for the time and date the arson happened. This means you could not be accused or convicted of burning any property.

The actual innocence defense is that you did not commit the crime at all. You may not an alibi, but you have another way to prove that you are innocent of arson. You have a reason why you did not commit the crime.

Lack of evidence is the type of defense that makes the state show their evidence. You claim they do not have the evidence to take the case to the arson court. You challenge the evidence and tell them they have no evidence. If they do not, they make drop the charges. It really depends on how weak their evidence is against you.

Insufficient evidence is different than lack of evidence. Insufficient evidence means the state does not have the proper evidence to convict you or a crime. This is another way to get the arson charges dropped against you.

If you do not think any of the listed defenses will help you, do not worry. More defenses are available. The defense you choose will be adapted to the facts of the case and your version of events.

We will Fight to Help You Avoid the Consequences of an Atlanta Georgia First Degree Arson Charge

You are accused of first degree arson. An accusation is just an accusation. So do not focus on the charge. Let’s focus on resolving your first degree arson charge. You have some legal defenses you can use like you did not knowingly cause the arson. Georgia law requires you to know that you caused a fire to property. Thus, if we can prove you did not know about the fire, the charge could be dropped.

One bright side of being accused of first degree arson is that we can, based on the evidence, fight to lessen the degree of the charge. A first degree charge, upon approval, can be downgraded to a lesser charge.

Contact us regarding your first degree arson charge. We want to fight for you.

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