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What are the Penalties for the Different Degrees of Arson in Texas?

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Read on to learn the different degrees of arson offenses acknowledged by the state of Texas, their potential penalties, and how a seasoned Kaufman County, Texas criminal defense lawyer at Harrel & Paulson, LLP can help to reduce or eliminate the charges against you altogether.

What are the different degrees of arson offenses?

Overall, arson is generally considered a second-degree felony. More specifically, this applies if you acted out the following:

  • You started the fire and purposely or knowingly placed the other party in danger of death or bodily injury.
  • You started the fire and acted with the purpose of destroying the other party’s building or structure.
  • You started the fire and acted with the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage of the property under which you recklessly placed the other party in danger of death or bodily injury.
  • You started the fire and acted with the purpose of destroying or damaging a structure to exempt it from any state, county, or local planning or zoning law regulation, ordinance, or enactment.
  • You started the fire and purposely acted to destroy or damage any forest.

However, certain circumstances allow arson to be classified as other types of felony. For one, arson is considered a first-degree felony if you intentionally started the fire and it resulted in the serious bodily injury or death of another party. This also applies if you intentionally started the fire to destroy a habitation or a place of assembly or worship, such as a church, mosque, or synagogue.

Additionally, arson as a third-degree felony applies if you recklessly started the fire while manufacturing a controlled substance that resulted in the serious bodily injury or death of another party.

And to be considered a state jail felony, you must have recklessly started the fire while manufacturing a controlled substance that resulted in the damage of a building, habitation, or vehicle. Or, this applies if you intentionally started the fire that resulted in reckless damage or destruction to the building or injury or death of another party.

What are the different penalties for arson offenses?

The specific penalties will depend on the specific circumstances of your offense. Nonetheless, below are the prison sentences that are commonly associated with the different degrees of arson offenses:

  • First-degree felony: life in prison or a sentence of anywhere between five to 99 years.
  • Second-degree felony: a prison sentence anywhere between two to 20 years.
  • Third-degree felony: a prison sentence anywhere between two to 10 years.
  • State jail felony: a prison sentence anywhere between 180 days to 2 years.

And regardless of the degree of the felony, a fine of up to $10,000 may be sentenced in addition to the prison term.

If you require assistance in fighting off these charges, contact one of the knowledgeable Kaufman, Texas lawyers today.

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For vigorous defenses for personal injury, criminal, divorce, or estate planning matters, contact Harrell & Paulson, LLP today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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