An arson charge involves a person being charged with setting a fire that results in a structure or parts of a structure being burnt. Since it is an intentional act, arson charges have grave consequences in the state of Georgia. It is therefore important that you contact a Marietta arson attorney such as Diana Whipkey Young immediately if you are facing an arson charge.
What Is Arson?
Although many people think of arson as the complete destruction of a building or structure, any type of damage resulting from an intentionally set fire is considered arson. If the person only intended to set the fire but did not intend to burn the structure, a charge of arson can still be brought against the individual. After a detailed survey of the damage has been conducted by a fire expert, then the police will be advised as to whether their determination is that the fire occurred as a result of an act of arson.
How Is Arson Classified?
The most serious case of arson referred to as 1st-degree arson, is when a fire is set to a church, school or residential home. If the structure that has been set on fire is a condemned home which is unoccupied, or a dumpster or vehicle, then this is considered to be 2nd-degree arson. If the fire is set to destroy clothing or any other type of personal effects, then it is classified as 3rd degree arson.
Anyone who is an accomplice in a case of arson is not charged as an accessory to the crime but charged with arson itself, unlike many other crimes. This means that if someone accompanied the person and supplied the matches, which were handed to the person to ignite the fire, they can also be charged with arson. Another unique aspect of arson is that someone can be charged for setting fire to their own house or property because arson is not viewed as a crime of ownership, but rather one of possession.
There are instances where arson can be elevated to an aggravated charge. If, for example, the intention of setting the fire was to murder someone, or if during the process of battling the flames, a firefighter suffered injuries, the person who set the fire can be charged with aggravated arson.
Due to the severity of the criminal offense of arson, representation by a qualified attorney, such as attorney Diana Whipkey Young who specializes in criminal law, is highly recommended. If you or family members face any charges that involve arson or related charges, contact the Young Law Firm today where you will find an experienced Marietta criminal defense lawyers.