Arson of a Building (Real Property) in Michigan
Charges of arson are treated very seriously by prosecutors in Michigan. If you are charged or investigated for arson of a building, you need an aggressive, passionate, and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
Charges of Arson of a Building (Real Property)
Arson charges in Michigan can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the damaged property type, the cost of the damages incurred, and whether any injuries resulted from the fire. The most severe arson charges often occur when a “dwelling” is burned or destroyed. A “dwelling” is any structure adapted for human living that was lived in or could have been when the fire occurred, such as a home, house, apartment, mobile home (trailer), or condominium. It includes any buildings connected or close to the dwelling, such as a garage. A person may also be convicted of arson if they set fire to any other type of structure or building or if they set fire to personal property. In all arson cases, ownership does not matter; a person can still be guilty of arson for setting fire to a building they own.
The following charges may apply to your case if you are under investigation by police for or charged with arson involving any dwelling, building, or structure (regardless of whether someone occupied it at the time of the offense):
- A person may be convicted of first-degree arson if they deliberately set fire to a dwelling or any building or structure if the fire results in an injury. The penalty for first-degree arson is up to life in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.00.
- A person may be convicted of second-degree arson if they deliberately set fire to any dwelling not covered under first-degree arson. The penalty for second-degree arson is up to twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.00.
- A person may be convicted of third-degree arson if they deliberately set fire to any other structure not covered under first and second-degree arson or its contents. The penalty for third-degree arson is up to ten (10) years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.00.
Insurance Fraud Arson
- A person may be convicted of insurance fraud arson if they deliberately set fire to any dwelling insured against loss from fire or explosion, intending to defraud the insurer. The penalty for insurance fraud related to arson of a dwelling is up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.00.
- A person may also be convicted of insurance fraud arson if they deliberately set fire to or ignite any insured building or structure, intending to defraud the insurer. The maximum penalty for insurance fraud arson is (20) years in prison and a $20,000.00 fine.
Defending Arson Charges in Michigan
There are defenses to every case in the minds of the best attorneys. An experienced, intelligent defense attorney will examine the facts and find a legitimate defense or a mitigating argument. Whether you are innocent or guilty, there are things a top-rated defense attorney can do to help. The best attorneys never give up searching for a way to reduce the impact of a case on the client, such as persuading the judge to order a term of probation with community service instead of jail or prison for arson of a building crimes. Alternatively, a savvy, influential defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to convince them to reduce charges in exchange for a plea.
Some defenses against Arson include:
- The building burned was not a dwelling.
- The fire or explosion was unintentional, an accident, or an act of God.
- The defendant placed flammable materials or explosives near a building without intent to burn them, and an accident occurred as a result.
- The person charged is mistakenly identified.
- The defendant set the fire under duress or necessity.
Experienced and Effective Arson Defense Attorney in Michigan
The defense team at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has achieved decades of superior results for clients. We go the extra mile in every case and never give up when representing clients on arson of a building charges in Michigan or any felony or misdemeanor crime. If you have an arson charge or are under investigation, call us for a free consultation because there is reason to be concerned for your future. You need an experienced, caring, courageous criminal lawyer to protect your rights and advocate for you. We can and will fight for the best possible result for your case.
In addition to lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines, a conviction may pose a barrier to employment, education, custody, gun rights, and government benefits. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we have a team of lawyers who will put their heads together to find a way to get every possible advantage in your case and reduce or eliminate a conviction’s consequences.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.