What is Arson Under Texas Law?

While it is not a crime to start a campfire in Texas, it can be a serious matter – and a criminal offense – to let a fire get out of control and cause damages. Under Texas law, arson is starting a fire with the intent to cause damage or to destroy a building for an insurance payoff, recklessly allowing a fire to get out of control, resulting in damages, or causing a fire while trying to manufacture drugs. Even if the fire doesn’t cause the damages that you intended, or is not successful in general, you can be charged with arson.

The penalties for an arson conviction depend largely on the circumstances that surround the criminal actions, such as the intent of the perpetrator and the extent of the damages that the fire caused. For instance, if a fire causes property damage or was sent in order to get an insurance payout, then a person could face conviction on second degree felony, which can lead to a state prison of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $10,000, and payment of restitution to the owner of the property that was damaged. The charge can even increase to a first degree felony if an individual dies or is seriously injured in the fire. In this type of case, an individual can face as much as a life sentence in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and payment of restitution to the owner of the property that was damaged.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Texas criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or email him at dan@cogdell-law.com.

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