The state of Arizona takes the risks posed by arson especially seriously, given our dry climate and fire-prone landscapes. Even behaviors that are reckless about fire potential can meet the legal definition of arson here.
You need strong legal representation from a violent crimes lawyer in Phoenix who is well-versed in both Arizona arson law and proven strategies. At Suzuki Law Offices, our Phoenix arson defense attorneys have helped many clients successfully navigate these serious allegations.
We understand how the legal system approaches arson prosecutions at both the investigative and trial stages. We have the experience and resources necessary to help you fight the state’s case and get the best possible result based on your circumstances.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You
We are well versed in the laws governing how arson is handled, as well as court procedure when it comes to the evidence concerning these charges. Having formerly worked as prosecutors, our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers understand what is needed to both prosecute and defend arson allegations.
We scrutinize every shred of evidence, including forensic evidence and witness or victim statements, as well as every aspect of the arrest or search warrants, to find any grounds for dismissal of charges or suppression of mishandled or illegally obtained evidence.
We know that building a solid arson defense is based on being absolutely thorough in our investigation and examination of the entire case file and taking advantage of any avenues that could raise reasonable doubt or procedural technicalities in our client’s favor.
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Possible Defenses and Challenges to An Arson Charge
Arson is often prosecuted aggressively because of the dangerous and potentially deadly consequences it can create. When a fire is intentionally set, it immediately threatens not only property but human lives and safety as well.
The financial costs of arson can also be staggering, destroying homes, businesses, and communities.
Establishing the defendant’s lack of intent to start a fire or set property on fire is a critical step in developing a defense strategy against an arson allegation.
The defense would need to provide credible evidence the fire started unintentionally, such as witness testimony, photos, or expert analysis of the fire’s origin. We would argue the state can’t prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
An alibi witness would claim the defendant was elsewhere at the time. Discrepancies in eyewitness descriptions or inconsistencies in ID procedures could also be highlighted. Fingerprint/DNA evidence excluding the defendant would help.
Negligence vs. Recklessness
The defense argues actions that caused the fire showed a lack of reasonable caution rather than a gross deviation, avoiding the more serious criminal negligence element of arson.
Potential investigative flaws in an arson case could raise reasonable doubts about the findings. Inconsistencies or failures to follow proper protocol in critical areas like evidence handling, eyewitness procedures, and fire origin analysis may undermine the integrity of the investigation.
Chain of Custody Defense
A gap in the chain of custody of important samples and items could allow doubts about the integrity of physical evidence. Any missing documentation or uncertainty over which individuals had control of critical forensic samples and exhibits at different stages would pose issues.
Casting Doubt on The Origin of the Fire
Additionally, not fully examining or ruling out other possible sources of ignition near the determined origin of the fire presents investigative shortcomings. A failure to thoroughly explore potential alternate origins may mean alternate explanations for how the fire started were not completely considered or addressed.
An experienced Phoenix arson attorney can work to use any evidence of these scenarios to weaken the prosecution’s case.
Phoenix Arson Defense Lawyer Near Me 602-682-5270
Arizona’s Arson Charges
Under Arizona statutes 13-1703 and 13-1704, arson is charged when a person knowingly and maliciously sets fire to a property or structure.
We can defend you against a wide range of arson offenses, including:
- Arson for profit
- Arson for the purposes of insurance fraud
- Arson as part of a robbery or burglary
- Arson used to destroy evidence of another crime, such as auto theft
- Burning of wildlands
- Arson of an occupied property
We Are Ready to Begin Your Defense
We explore all viable arson defense avenues, including if there was requisite intent. If the state’s case has holes in it, but a plea offer would still send you to prison, we are prepared to take your case to a judge or jury.
If a trial is likely to result in a conviction and a lengthy prison sentence or hefty fine, we are effective negotiators who will try to strike the best possible deal for you. If you need solid arson defense representation, contact a proven arson lawyer who can make the most of the facts of your case.
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Penalties for Arson
Arson is a felony in Arizona, and the penalties can vary depending on the extent of the damage and whether the prosecutor can establish intent. Intentional fires can carry more severe punishment than unintentional fires. In addition, if other individuals were endangered or harmed in the fire, this can also lead to heavier penalties.
Some example penalties for arson can include:
- Arson of unoccupied property worth more than $1,000 – Up to 3.75 years of prison time and Class 4 felony
- Arson of unoccupied property worth between $100-$1000 – up to 2.5 years of prison time and Class 5 felony
- Arson of unoccupied property worth less than $100 – Up to 6 months in prison, Class 1 misdemeanor and $2,500 in fines
- Arson of an occupied structure – Up to 12.5 years in prison, Class 2 felony
Our founding lawyer, Richard Suzuki, is an accomplished Phoenix criminal defense lawyer, a former Deputy Maricopa County Attorney, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.
He uses his experience to gauge the strength of the case against you and give you honest and knowledgeable advice about your legal options. We provide clients with realistic expectations and set goals for achieving the best possible outcome.
Contact a Phoenix Arson Defense Law Firm Today
Arson is an extremely serious crime that warrants vigorous defense. At Suzuki Law Offices, our legal team of experienced arson attorneys have successfully defended clients facing arson allegations.
With founding attorney Richard Suzuki’s formidable courtroom skills and in-depth understanding of both prosecution and defense perspectives, you can feel confident having the full resources of our firm in your corner.
While outcomes are never certain, you can trust that we will fight relentlessly and use all viable strategies to achieve the best possible result for your situation. For a free consultation to discuss your defense options with complete confidentiality, contact us today.