What is arson and are there any defenses?
Arson involves the burning of property. In Louisiana and other jurisdictions across the nation, an accusation of arson must allege the defendant’s willful intention to burn or scorch the property. Accidental fires generally cannot serve as the bases of arson claims. In addition to willfully engaging in the burning of property, a claim of arson must also generally include evidence that the desire to burn was malicious.
There are several defenses to the criminal charge of arson. A person charged with arson may claim innocence by demonstrating that he was not where the fire occurred at the time of the burning event. Additionally, a person may claim that he did set a fire but that he intended for it to be controlled or that he otherwise did not intend for it to cause the damage and destruction that it ended up causing.
There are different levels of arson charges. When a fire causes the death or injury of a person, the individual charged with the crime may face very serious consequences as a result of his or her alleged involvement in a felony. Arson may also be charged contemporaneously with fraud if a person is accused of burning his own property in an effort to receive an insurance payout or other financial gain.
Like other criminal charges a charge of arson can be challenging to overcome. Particularly with arson, experts can offer a wide range of scientific and technical evidence that supports or refutes a prosecutor’s case against an individual. Depending upon the needs of his client a criminal defense attorney may be able to help youl secure experts to help refute arson charges. As every criminal case is different, however, readers of this blog are encouraged to speak with counsel about their own cases and defenses rather than relying on this post as legal guidance.