Arson Defense

There’s no mistake that arson is a serious charge.  Due the damaging nature of fire, an individual charged with arson can face felony charges along with a multitude of other penalties.  The lawyers at Jackson Bergman have years of experience working in the DA’s office which has given them unique insight into arson charges as viewed by both sides of the law.  If you face the threat of an arson charge, it is crucial that you are proactive in obtaining the defense of a trusted, experienced lawyer who can defend you from these serious and life-changing charges.

What is Arson?

An arson charge involves the accusation that a fire was set intentionally or, in some cases, recklessly.  Often, arson results in damage to a residence or a place of business and can also involve damage to a public building or public property such as a national or state forest.  Due to the ravaging nature of fire, along with the high potential of injury or death, arson is typically classified as a felony rather than a lesser charge such as a misdemeanor, although sometimes it is the former.

There can be many reasons for a person to engage in arson such as covering up a crime or deceiving an insurance company in order to collect funds.

Defending Against an Arson Charge

Of all felony charges, an arson charge is particularly difficult to prove motive.  A skilled lawyer from our firm can defend your legal rights and ultimately work towards proving your innocence. 

The following are common defenses against an arson charge:

  • Natural Causes – Particularly in places where wildfires naturally occur, it is possible that a fire was started by natural means and without malicious intent, e.g. lightening strike.
  • Lack of Proof or Motive – The prosecution will attempt to prove motive as to why a fire was started.  Your defense lawyer can work with the evidence to prove the fire was a result of an accident, recklessness, negligence, or started by another individual.
  • Insufficient Evidence -   In many arson cases, evidence can be lacking after a devastating fire.  Our lawyers can try and prove that there simply wasn’t enough evidence at the scene to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fire was intentionally set or that it was started by someone else.
  • Invalid “Science” – There have been cases in the past where individuals were wrongly accused of arson due to incorrect evidence. An experienced lawyer can ensure any questionable evidence does not play a factor in your case.

When you have arson charges pending, you have your future and your freedom is at stake.  Therefore, it is imperative that you set up a complimentary case review with one of our experienced arson defense attorneys as early into your case as possible.

Penalties for Arson Charges in New York State

Arson carries varying penalties in New York depending on the level of severity of the fire.  The consequences of a guilty verdict in an arson case can range from a misdemeanor, where the offender can potentially avoid jail time, to a felony charge which can carry a punishment of 15-25 years to life

The New York Arson Penal Law defines the following as the minimum sentences for arson:

  • Fifth Degree: This is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may avoid a jail sentence or spend a maximum of 1 year in prison.
  • Fourth Degree: This is considered an “E” felony and carries a minimum of 1-3 years in prison and maximum sentence of 5-15 years in state prison.
  • Third Degree: This is considered a “C” felony and carries a sentence of 1-15 years in prison.
  • Second Degree: This is a “B” violent felony and carries a sentence of 5-25 years to prison.
  • First Degree: This carries a sentence of 15-25 years to life.

Trust Our Years of Experience in Defending Against Arson Charges

When you choose Jackson Bergman, you are choosing a firm that will look at your case from a unique perspective and apply our years of experience in defending against arson charges to your case.  With an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer by your side every step of the way, you’ll know you will have an even playing field in the courtroom and the best chance at lessened or dropped charges.  Our lawyers will aggressively defend your rights and will prepare you for every step of your proceedings.  With our excellent track record in successfully defending against arson charges, you’ll know you have an experienced team to confidently move forward with in your case.