Arson & Felony Charges

Facing Serious Charges? Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers: (202) 759-7929

Arson is a serious crime, with high fines and years of prison time in the balance. Most property damage in excess of $500 of damages is treated as a felony, but the dangerous and destructive nature of fire is addressed separately in Washington, D.C. law. Any burning or act of arson can result in between 1 and 10 years of prison (at the very least).

In the District of Columbia, Arson is defined as:

  • Burning your own property to defraud or harm another;
  • Burning someone else’s property in order to cause them harm; and
  • Burning property such as fences, woods, and crops.

If you have been accused of committing arson, you cannot afford to delay—call our Washington, D.C. criminal defense attorneys at Hunter & Johnson, PLLC today at (202) 759-7929.

Degrees of Arson Crimes

Arson, like murder, is divided into degrees for the sake of prosecution and sentencing. Arson in the first degree and the second degree is distinguished by the endangerment to human life (potential or actual) and the type of property that was damaged. Conviction of arson also requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s intent to commit a crime, or “mens rea.”

Arson in the first-degree requires proof that the defendant knowingly:

  • Damaged a dwelling with fire or explosives
  • Damaged a populated building with fire or explosives
  • Damaged property worth $10,000+ with intent to collect insurance

First-degree arson is punishable with between 10-20 years of prison after a first offense. Repeat offenders are at risk for even harsher consequences.

The Necessity of Criminal Intent

Arson, unlike murder, is prosecuted the same for both successful and unsuccessful attempts at the crime. Intent must be proven, as that is all that is required for an arson conviction. The prosecution must also show that it was purposeful, deliberate, malicious, and not provoked by circumstances in the moment. Arson in the second-degree is the same but applies to properties not covered or punishable by first-degree arson.

Second-degree arson is the knowing and malicious burning of property such as:

  • Bridges
  • Crops
  • Pastureland
  • Lumber
  • Fences
  • Vehicles

For cases in which a person is knowingly reckless with starting a fire, but not acting with malicious intent, Washington, D.C. levels charges of “reckless burning,” also separated by degrees similar to arson. For first time offenders, reckless burning conviction can result in two months in prison or 90 days in jail.

Serious Charges Require Serious Defense Lawyers

When it comes to arson, it is crucial to choose an attorney that has the passion, experience, and relentless aggressiveness you need to protect your future. That’s why our criminal defense clients turn to Hunter & Johnson, PLLC. Together, our Washington, D.C. criminal defense attorneys have tried hundreds of cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and more.

Why do clients turn to our firm?

  • “Excellent” Avvo Rating (Attorney Hunter)
  • Record of powerful courtroom results
  • Relentless and aggressive representation
  • Powerful reputation among former clients

Our passion is representing difficult cases for people who deserve justice, who deserve to be heard. That’s why our firm’s work addresses the needs of underdogs—from people who have been wronged by their landlords to people who are vulnerable to harsh law enforcement measures. If you have been accused of arson, let our lawyers represent you and advocate on your behalf. We have the determination and tenacity to fight for you through every step of the process.

Call (202) 759-7929 for your case evaluation today—fight the justice you need.

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