When a mysterious fire or explosion occurs, law enforcement and the Texas Fire Marshall will naturally question the property owner or other suspects of arson. These cases tend to be highly circumstantial in nature because arson cases rarely ever have eyewitnesses who saw how the fire started. This can result in persistent police questioning and a tremendous use of resources to investigate the crime since there is little to no evidence left behind after the fire.
Motives for arson can range from hate crimes to insurance fraud. In some cases, an arson was committed because of reckless behavior or juvenile criminal mischief. Regardless of why the crime is committed, the penalties for arson can tremendously impact your life. You could be charged with a felony and face prison and steep fines in the thousands.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or accused for arson, then we highly encourage you to secure experienced legal counsel.
Arson Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas
Allegations of arson could potentially uproot your life. A conviction will mean time behind bars and huge outstanding fines. Not to mention, the negative consequences you will face post-conviction such as having issues with housing, employment and educational opportunities. With so much at stake, it’s important you secure legal counsel as soon as possible.
The Benken Law Firm aggressively defends Texas citizens of all types of property crimes including arson. He can utilize his decades of experience, resources and knowledge to battle your charges. Don’t wait another moment to start building your defense and call (713) 223 - 4051. We will set up your first consultation free of charge to discuss all your legal options in detail.
The Benken Law Firm represents people throughout all walks of life in Harris County including The Heights, River Oaks, Spring Valley Village, Houston, Gulfton and many others.
Overview of Arson Charges in Texas
What Classifies as Arson in Texas?
Naturally, when people think of the term “arson” they imagine a building that was set on fire intentionally. This may be true, but Texas has expanded the definition of arson even further. Under Texas Penal Code Section 28.02, a person is guilty of arson if they start a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to damage:
- Any vegetation, fence or structure on open-space land; or
- Any building, habitation or vehicle knowing it is:
- Within the limits of an incorporated city or town;
- Insured against damage or destruction;
- Subject to a mortgage or other security interest;
- Located on property belonging to another person;
- Located within it was property belonging to another; or
- The person was reckless about whether the fire or explosion would endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another
Additionally, the offender is guilty of arson if they recklessly start a fire or cause an explosion while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance and the fire or explosion damaged another building or vehicle. They can also be charged with the offense if they started a fire or explosion with the intention of:
- Recklessly damaging or destroying a building belonging to another; or
- Recklessly caused another person to suffer bodily injury or death
What Are the Penalties for Arson in Texas?
The danger and destruction associated with arson has caused Texas legislators to implement harsh penalties for the crime. Without aggravating factors, committing arson will land you a state jail felony. The maximum penalty for a state jail felony includes the following:
- Up to two years in a state jail facility; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000
The penalties for arson may be enhanced if certain circumstances are proven true in a court of law. An arson charge can result in a second-degree felony if it’s shown at trial that:
- Bodily injury or death suffered by any person or reason of the commission of the offense; or
- The property that was intended to be damaged or destroyed by the actor was a habitation or place of assembly/worship
Houston Fire and Arson Investigation Division – Visit the official website for the Houston Fire Department to learn how they investigate arson cases and resources for those who recently had their property burned down. Access the site to find more information on fire incident reports, ambulance or EMS billing, and information related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Arson Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more regarding their arson laws and legislation. Access the site to view the elements of the crime, penalties, admissible defenses and other related property crimes.
Houston Lawyer for Arson Defense in Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with arson or any other type of property crime, then it’s highly encouraged you call The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken has decades of experience under his belt and has helped hundreds of people fight their criminal charges with confidence. He can provide you an excellent defense by thoroughly investigating the facts of the case and utilizing his extensive resources to chart out a strong defense plan for you.
It’s time you take charge of your defense by hiring an attorney who puts your freedom first. Call (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free today. The Benken Law Firm defends clients throughout all parts of Harris County and Texas such as Uptown, Rice Miliatry, Braeswood, The Heights and other parts of Houston.