Southern Minnesota Arson Attorney
Arson is the act of voluntarily and maliciously setting fire to a property, whether it is the suspected arsonist’s own property or that of another person. An individual who is accused of setting fire to their own property is typically suspected of insurance fraud as well because the fire may have been set in order to file an insurance claim and obtain the cash from that claim.
If you have been accused of arson, you need a Mankato arson attorney to help you through the entire legal process. As soon as you are charged, a call to your attorney can result in you being released from jail while you await your first court hearing. From there, your attorney will be present every step of the way.
Degrees Of Arson
Arson is placed in six categories ranging from First Degree Arson to Fourth Degree Arson and Wildfire Arson to Negligent Fires. Each classification determines the penalties if convicted of the crime.
- First Degree Arson: Destroying dwellings or structures that are unoccupied by means of fire or explosives. The property has a value over $1,000. If the structure is occupied and someone is injured or killed, other criminal charges can be filed. Any act of arson can also be classified as First Degree if the defendant had or should have had knowledge that another person was present.
- Second Degree Arson: The destroying of an unoccupied dwelling or structure valued at more than $1,000.
- Third Degree Arson: Intentionally damaging property valued at less than $1,000 but more than $300.
- Fourth Degree: Intentionally destroying a condo, public building, or residential unit by fire, only if the offense does not meet First, Second or Third Degree Arson requirements.
- Fifth Degree Arson: Setting fire to property regardless of its value.
- Wildfire Arson: Intentionally setting fire to land.
- Negligent Fire: Negligence leading to a fire that burns out of control, possibly causing injury or property damage.
It is important to call your Southern Minnesota arson lawyer as soon as you have been arrested. The sooner your lawyer becomes involved, the better the evidence that will be gathered and the memories of any witnesses who can speak of important factors in your case.
In order for you to have an effective arson defense, your attorney must be contacted as soon as you know you are being investigated or when you are officially charged. This will allow witnesses to be interviewed and evidence gathered so you can have the strongest defense possible. What could be a negligent fire could be mistakenly charged as First Degree or the charges against you could be a case of mistaken identification. Whatever the reason, you have rights and the right to a strategic defense.
Contact A Mankato Arson Lawyer
Arson is serious in that it causes property damage, but it can also cause personal injury. If you are accused of arson, you could be facing very serious consequences if convicted. The goal is to avoid conviction or have the charges reduced or dismissed. Birkholz Law, LLC has nearly 4 decades of experience practicing on both sides of the law and this means knowing well how the legal system works. To learn more about how we can help you, call the Mankato location at 507-387-2100, the St. James location at 507-375-3374, or the Westbrook location at 507-274-6501 for a free consultation.