Gwinnett County Arson Lawyer
Arson is the act of burning a building on purpose. Because fires can be dangerous, arson is a crime with severe consequences. There are three degrees of arson, and all of them are felonies. A felony conviction may affect your future and ability to find a place to live and work. Make sure you understand the full range of outcomes before you decide to accept a plea bargain or appear in court.
You may find it helpful to speak with a Gwinnett County arson lawyer to learn more about your situation and what you can expect going forward. You may want to work with an attorney to build an effective defense strategy and make sure you adequately protect your rights. The judge may put you in prison for a lengthy sentence or force you to pay hefty fines if a court convicts you. Therefore, it could be crucial that you obtain an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Arson Statutes in Gwinnett County
In Gwinnett County, an arson offense has three varying degrees. The first two levels do not rely on the value of the destroyed property. The third-degree only applies if the value of the property was at least $25.00. To learn more about the different levels of arson and the penalties, consult with a knowledgeable defense attorney.
If a person uses fire or explosives to damage a building or vehicle or hires or encourages another to do the same, that is first-degree arson, as defined in Georgia Code §16-7-60. The law prohibits the destruction of the following types of property:
- A dwelling of another person in which the alleged arsonist has a financial interest
- Any building, vehicle, or other structure in which the suspected arsonist has a financial interest
- Any house, building, car or construction which is insured
- A building or vehicle in which a spouse or co-owner has an investment and the alleged arsonist intends to defraud the other party
- Any dwelling, structure or vehicle in which a person may be present
If a person commits a different felony and causes damage to the above-described property by fire or explosion, that is also first-degree arson.
If a person burns or explodes any other structure not described in first-degree arson or encourages or hires someone to do so, that is second-degree arson, which is found in Georgia Code §16-7-61. The significant element is destroying another person’s property without the owner or interest holder’s consent. If such a building is damaged during the commission of a felony, that is also second-degree arson.
Third-degree arson involves the destruction of personal property worth at least $25, described in Georgia Code §16-7-62. The act includes instances where the accused carried out the burning or encouraged or hired another person to do for them. If the item is damaged when the person was performing a different felony, the court can try the person for third-degree arson, as well.
Penalties for Arson in Gwinnett County
If a court convicts a person of a felony, typically they face at least a year in prison, but depending on the degree, they may face up to 20 years. There could also be hefty fines, up to $50,000.00.
A person may receive probation with strict requirements as well as having a felony on their criminal record. This conviction would show up on background checks and may affect the person’s chances of getting a new job or obtaining a lease. Individuals facing these severe penalties should reach out to a seasoned arson lawyer in Gwinnett County.
Speak with a Gwinnett County Arson Attorney to Learn More
If you are currently facing charges related to arson, you should immediately reach out to an attorney for legal assistance. With a Gwinnett County arson lawyer at your side, you may be able to build a professional defense that may be able to withstand specific allegations made by the prosecution. However, it is best to reach out to an attorney as conveniently possible. With time at your side, you may be able to analyze all aspects of your offense and inform you of your next steps. To get started, schedule a consultation today.