DeKalb County Arson Lawyer
All arson offenses under state law are felony crimes, which means that an arson conviction may result in you having a permanent felony criminal record. Aside from the prison time, fines, and restitution that you may face as a result of a conviction, your criminal background may prevent you from obtaining employment and even getting housing. As a result, if you or a loved one is facing arson charges, you may wish to consult a DeKalb County arson lawyer for advice about your situation. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to examine your situation, protect your rights, and build the most robust defense strategy available.
When Would Someone be Charged with Arson?
Arson generally refers to the intentional setting of a fire. State law provides for the crimes of first, second, and third-degree arson, which all are felony offenses. First-degree arson is the most severe of the charges with the highest penalties, and third-degree arson is the least critical of the charges.
Under The Official Code of Georgia § 16-7-62, third-degree arson occurs when individuals purposely use fire or explosives to cause damage to personal property with a value of $25 or more. Second-degree arson charges according to O.C.G.A. § 16-7-61 may occur when persons encourage or help others to commit arson. Finally, first-degree arson under O.C.G.A. § 16-7-60 occurs when individuals use fire or explosives to cause damage to a home, vehicle, or other structure. Although there is no requirement that first-degree arson involve a home that is inhabited by others, the arson offense must pose a danger to human life.
What are the Potential Penalties Following a Conviction for Arson?
First-degree arson carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $50,000, or both. A conviction for second-degree arson can result in a prison sentence ranging from one year to ten years, as well as a fine of up to $25,000. Third-degree arson convictions, on the other hand, may cause a sentence of imprisonment of one to five years, a $10,000 fine, or both.
In addition to these penalties, a sentencing judge in an arson case can order individuals to pay restitution to the property owners to cover their losses due to the fire. As restitution for significant fire damage can be quite high, individuals convicted of arson may have substantial financial penalties to deal with even after serving their prison terms. A DeKalb County arson lawyer could be instrumental in defending the rights of those accused of arson and trying to reach a favorable resolution to the charges.
Collateral Ramifications of Arson Convictions
Many collateral consequences may also follow a felony arson conviction. A felony conviction causes the loss of many civil rights, including the right to possess firearms. This type of criminal history also can adversely impact the ability of individuals to pursue some careers, work in some jobs, or pursue professional licensure for some positions.
Individuals may feel the impact of a felony arson conviction for years to come. Obtaining credit, insurance, and housing all may become more difficult for those with a felony conviction on their criminal backgrounds. An arson attorney in DeKalb County could explain the full range of consequences that can result from a felony arson conviction.
Contact a DeKalb County Arson Attorney for Advice
Arson charges are severe, and you would likely benefit from legal representation from the outset of your case. Rather than trying to explain your actions, you may wish to consult a DeKalb County arson lawyer as soon as possible. Taking this step may improve your ability to fight back against the charges you are facing.
Defenses may be available in your case that experienced legal counsel may be able to raise on your behalf. To get started on your case, be sure to schedule a consultation today.