If you have been charged with arson, it is vital you contact a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney immediately. Under Nevada law, arson is a felony; therefore, a conviction can have a lasting effect on your life—even beyond the sentenced punishment. Having a felony on your record affects your civil rights and even your ability to obtain employment or housing.
Although accidental fires are not considered arson, in certain circumstances you may be charged if you lit a lawful fire that ultimately proceeded to destroy property. You also do not have be the person who actually lit the fire, but can be charged for helping to arrange it or for attempting it.
Arson can be charged in any of four degrees. The main deciding factors include what kind of property was burned and whether or not it was occupied at the time. The severity of penalties can be affected not only by these factors but by whether or not anyone was injured, as well as any previous criminal record. Penalties can involve up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Federal arson charges involve the intentional or malicious burning or attempted burning of federal property, as well as an act of arson that affects interstate or foreign commerce, including buildings, vehicles, aircraft, and dwellings. The federal crime of arson is punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison. If the crime also resulted in injuries, the length of incarceration will run from 7 to 40 years. Any fatalities that resulted from the arson could lead to life imprisonment.
At Okabe & Haushalter, our experience with arson cases means we are ready to aggressively represent you from the onset. We can conduct our own investigation of the facts of the case in an attempt to find evidence or facts that will absolve you. We can bring in experts as needed to review the scene of the alleged crime as well as other details of the case.
Arson is a relatively difficult charge to prove as it relies on establishing the intent of the accused. If we are able to introduce any reasonable doubt that you acted willfully and maliciously not just negligently or recklessly, if at all, this by law must protect you from conviction.
Contact a Las Vegas arson lawyer for legal representation if you are facing charges.