Quincy Criminal Defense Attorney

Arson Charges

If a person willfully sets fire to a building or property, that individual when identified by law enforcement, will be charged with arson. The definition of arson as it applies to Massachusetts law can be found in Section 1 of Chapter 266 He can be fined as well as jailed or sent to prison, depending on the circumstances. Motive is also an important consideration. If arson was committed for the purpose of collecting insurance money, then the defendant can additionally be charged with insurance fraud.

If you are charged with arson or being investigated for arson, it is imperative to contact a Weymouth criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Law enforcement will aggressively investigate and prosecute instances of arson. You need an attorney who has an arsenal of resources for handling such cases.

Penalties for Arson

A prison term could be up to 20 years for burning a dwelling and up to 10 years for a building. The penalties are greater for willfully burning a dwelling than another structure, such as a church, school, lumberyard, or a building for public use, among others. Dwellings include apartment houses, hotels, boarding houses, dormitories, institutions, hospitals, and sanatoria; these are basically structures where people reside. Depending on the specifics of the case, arson can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Some of the factors that weigh in on the severity of the case include whether the person charged has a criminal history, the amount of damage, whether any person was killed or injured, and motive.

Investigating Arson

For a prosecutor to successfully convict a person accused of committing arson, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did in fact cause the fire and did so willfully or with malice. The person charged does not have to be the actual person who set the fire, but if it is proven that there was involvement in assisting another to commit the crime, charges can be filed. Insurance companies are usually very aggressive in investigating fires, as they want to avoid paying claims if they can help prove that the fire was in fact the result of arson. They work closely with law enforcement. Your criminal defense case could not be a more critical issue if you are charged with committing arson.

Quite often the evidence presented is circumstantial, as the fire usually destroys most of the evidence. Therefore, the prosecution may rely heavily on the testimony of expert witnesses. Serious charges of arson require the experience and tenacity of my criminal defense law firm to match or exceed those resources of the insurance companies and law enforcement. An investigation might include, but would not be limited to, researching reports from insurance companies to determine the condition of the structure prior to the fire and interviewing witnesses. When did the witness first notice the fire – at the beginning, or after it had incurred most of its damage? What kind of evidence is there showing how the fire started? Is there evidence indicating that accelerants used? Were the same substances found in the home of the defendant?

Those are just some of the important reasons to contact my firm, Flanagan & Associates, in Quincy if you are charged with arson – you need a powerful criminal defense. I carefully review and investigate arson cases aggressively in order to provide you with the best defense possible as well as protect your rights. As a former insurance investigator, I have a great deal of understanding about how arson is investigated, what insurance companies will do, and what are the alternatives to arson that could have led to the fire. It is very frightening to be accused of such a crime and face the possibility of many long years in state or federal prison. Not only do I fight for your rights, I am there to support you throughout every part of this very difficult time. You need to ensure you are extremely confident in your Weymouth criminal attorney. I am trusted, experienced and highly committed to my clients. Call today, or fill in my online form.

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