Arson can be a serious felony, enumerated in the Penal Code at Chapter 28. Most people think of arson as a blazing fire consuming a large building, wreaking devastating damage, however, you can be charged with Arson for much less. Consider the wording of the statute itself: "A person commits an offense if the person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition ... with intent to destroy or damage." You can be charged with Arson even if the fire burns out. Arson can involve more than buildings and structures; it includes any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land.
Typical Arson cases include burning or lighting items on fire such as books, wood, trashcans, and even cars. Arson cases include burning fences, crop fields, sheds, barns, and buildings, whether commercial or residential. If an arson leads to injury or death, a defendant will most likely find additional charges of bodily injury, or even manslaughter or felony murder, even if such unfortunate results were not contemplated when starting the fire.
Arson arrests and case can be serious and often lead to lengthy jail sentences. The Law Office of Robert Keates has handled Arson cases, both in juvenile and adult courts, from arson cases of merely lighting a sheet of paper on fire (and tossing it in a toilet in a high school bathroom) to an ignited fire that burned half a house to the ground. Both were originally charged as felony arson. Because Arson encompasses such a wide range of conduct, with enormous discretion when arson cases are filed and charged, it is important to have an attorney with your every step of the way.