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3 defense options to arson charges

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you have been accused of committing arson, it’s important that you examine all possible defense options. Michigan divides arson charges into six categories (first to fifth-degree arson plus arson of insured property) based on their seriousness. All but fifth-degree arson are classified as felony offenses.

A conviction for any of them could result in significant fines and prison time. Hence, why you must do what you can to avoid a conviction. Possible defenses to the charges you’re facing include the following.

Say it was not you

The police do not always get the right person when seeking whoever committed a crime. Eyewitnesses can also be wrong about who they think they saw. If it wasn’t you, then sticking by your story is certainly something you may want to consider.

Say you never meant to burn something down

Playing with fire is not an offense on its own. The law requires that the act of burning or exploding something was willful and malicious for it to “count” as arson. In other words, if the prosecution cannot show you intentionally set out to cause damage, the court should not find you guilty.

Challenge police actions

If the police found evidence, such as a gas can in your trunk, you need to look at how they got it and stored and documented it. If they broke into your parked car without a search warrant, or stopped you without reason when driving along, the court may declare any evidence they gathered inadmissible. If officers violated your rights during a stop and arrest, that again may cause a court to throw out the charges that you’re facing.

If you’re face arson charges, do not assume you can beat them alone. There is too much at stake. Seeking legal guidance is the best way to get started in building a strong defense strategy.