Information about arson laws in Pennsylvania is limited. As a result, if you have been accused of or arrested for this crime, you might not know what you are facing and what to do next. You need to call a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney with experience to help you.Arson Definition in Pennsylvania
Arson is defined in Pennsylvania as when someone starts a fire intentionally, or causes an explosion, or if he advises or helps someone else to start a fire or cause an explosion, or pays or agrees to pay someone else to do it, even if it’s on property he owns or property that someone else owns, and if he recklessly places someone else in danger of bodily injury or death, including though not limited to police officers, firefighters, and others who are actively engaged in fighting the fires; or if he purposely commits the act in order to damage or destroy a building that is inhabited or a structure that is occupied by another.
The building in this definition does not need to be either a business or a home, and it does not have to burn completely to the ground in order for the crime to be considered arson. The only thing the State has to prove to get you convicted of arson is that you started the fire on purpose.
A fire inspector will appear in court to testify that he or she has reasons that arson is suspected. Many times, fire investigators are untrained scientists and don’t understand the science of fire, or have not been exposed to it. It can be particularly helpful to you to have an attorney with you who firmly understands the forensic science involved in the investigation of fire debris, and who has access to top experts who can challenge the state.
Most of the time, arson penalties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are serious. If the fire kills, or even injures, someone, you can face additional charges of murder or assault.Types of Arson Offenses
The following are examples of arson charges and their penalties. It is not an exhaustive list:
- Third-degree felony: You can be charged with this if you have incendiary or explosive devices or materials in your possession, or if you manufacture or transport them.
- Second-degree murder: You can be charged with this if you cause a fire or explosion that causes someone’s death, regardless of your intent.
- First-degree felony: You can be charged with this if a fire or explosion you start or hire someone to start endangers others.
Most acts of arson are charged as felonies in the state of Pennsylvania. Some are subject to sentencing provisions in the statute that allow the judge to sentence a defendant to longer prison terms and higher fines than average.
The stakes in Pennsylvania are high when you’ve been charged with arson. You can lose your freedom for years, which leads to other worries and concerns, such as how you’re going to pay your bills, who is going to take care of your children, and how you’re going to pay your fines.
The criminal justice system can be confusing. When you’re facing arson charges, you need a skilled lawyer with the boldness to win your case. Sean Logue and his colleagues at Logue Law Group will remain at your side throughout the process, starting with explaining your charges and moving on to describing your alternatives. They are dedicated and aggressive, with a winning record.
If you or a loved one have been charged with arson in or around the city of Pittsburgh, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Logue Criminal Defense team serves Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding areas, including West Virginia and Ohio. To reach out to schedule a no-charge initial consultation with a competent attorney from Logue Law Group, call us at 844.PITT.DUI or 844.PITT.DUI. Or, you can contact us online.
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