Florida Arson Law
Wildfires have damaged a great deal of land throughout the U.S. and Canada this year. Some of these fires began from natural causes. However, others were intentional. When state and federal authorities find out that an individual or group intentionally, recklessly, or negligently starts a fire, whether out in nature, a commercial district, or residential neighborhood, they may bring charges for arson.
Florida Arson Law
Under Florida statutes section 806.01(1), arson is defined as any person who intentionally and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages:
- Any dwelling or its contents, whether people were inside or not,
- Any structure where people are normally present,
- Any structure that the person knew or had reasonable grounds to believe had one or more individuals inside.
A structure where people are normally present includes but is not limited to prisons, jails, detention centers, medical facilities, stores, offices, churches, and schools.
Arson under subsection (1) is a first-degree felony.
It is also arson under Section 806.01(2) if any person willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages any structure, whether it is that person’s own property or another individual’s property.
In general, a structure under Florida law means any building, any enclosed area with a roof over it, and real property and appurtenances on it, any tent or other portable building, and any vehicle, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft.
Arson under subsection (2) is a second-degree felony.
Arson Resulting in Injury
Florida statute section 806.031 outlines the charge for arson that causes injury to one or more people. Under subsection (1), if anyone perpetrates any arson that results in any bodily harm to a firefighter or any other person, regardless of their intent or lack of intent to cause harm, they are guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.
Under subsection (2), anyone who commits arson that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a firefighter or any other person, regardless of intent or lack of intent to cause harm, is guilty of a second-degree felony.
Penalties for Arson
If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, you could be punished with up to 1 year in jail, probation, and up to a $1,000 fine.
If you face a second-degree felony, you may be punished with up to 15 years in prison and/or probation and a maximum fine of $10,000.
A first-degree felony is very serious and is punishable up to 30 years in prison and probation and up to $10,000 in fines.
However, after a misdemeanor and felony conviction, you can expect to experience a number of collateral consequences in addition to fines, incarceration, and probation. You may be required to complete community service and pay restitution to the victims of the offense, such as the homeowner, business owner, municipality, or state or federal government. The conviction can also make it difficult to get into college, get a stable job, be approved for rental housing, maintain an immigration visa or gain citizenship, or maintain your child custody or visitation.
Have You Been Charged With Arson?
If you have been charged with arson in Florida, contact the experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys of Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. at 407-483-0500. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.