Arson in Florida

Under Florida Statute 806.01, the crime of Arson is committed when a person willfully and unlawfully damages a dwelling or structure by fire or explosion.

Structure

A structure is defined very broadly in Florida and includes a building of any kind, any enclosed area with a roof over it, any real property and appurtenances thereto, any tent or other portable building, and any vehicle, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft.

Aggravating Circumstances

It is considered First Degree Arson if the damaged property is a dwelling, occupied structure, or a structure where people are normally present, such as a church, jail, mall, etc.

Penalties for Arson

The penalties for Arson depend on whether a person is charged with Second Degree Arson or First Degree Arson.

Second Degree Arson

The crime of Second Degree Arson is a Second Degree Felony in Florida and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Second Degree Arson is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of First Degree Arson to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison.

First Degree Arson

The crime of First Degree Arson is a First Degree Felony in Florida and punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison, thirty (30) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

First Degree Arson is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of First Degree Arson to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of thirty (30) years in prison.

Defenses to Arson

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, a specific defense to the crime of Arson is:

Personal Property Exception

It is lawful to burn one’s own property so long as there is no ulterior criminal motive, such as insurance fraud, revenge, etc. [1]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Arson in Orlando or the Central Florida area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. State v. Mayle, 406 So. 2d 108, 109 (Fla. 5th DCA 1981)