Arson charges are serious criminal charges that can result in extremely severe legal penalties. In fact, an arson conviction can land you up to 20 years in prison, and even threatening arson can have serious legal repercussions. If you or someone you care about is facing arson charges, understanding the common ill-conceived motivating factors behind such crimes may help you defend yourself.
Average, law-abiding citizens do not resort to arson to solve their problems or make their points. If you find yourself facing arson charges, disassociating yourself from the following common motivating factors could play a key role in your defense:
Personal or Political Interests
Sometimes, an arsonist is motivated by political and/or personal interests. For example, a person who burns down an apartment building in a misguided attempt to highlight exactly how unsafe he or she thought the building was in the first place is motivated by personal interests. Further, arsonists have been known to attack Planned Parenthood buildings for overtly political reasons.
Sometimes, a person who lacks personal checks-and-balances becomes so unhinged by anger that he or she resorts to arson as a means of exacting extreme revenge.
Motivated by Money
Sometimes, arson is motivated by monetary gain. Property owners typically insure their assets against fire. When such an asset fails to become a going concern (or is no longer a going concern), some owners (admittedly, very few) resort to arson in an effort to recoup their financial losses. Additionally, some arsonists have set properties alight in attempts to frame property owners for arson.
Motivated to Cover Up
Sometimes, fires are set in an effort to burn evidence relevant to another crime. For example, if a perpetrator has committed a robbery, violent crime, or murder on a property, he or she might resort to arson to erase any trace of his or her illegal actions.
The fact is that not all damaging and dangerous fires are set intentionally, but this does not mean that blame cannot be assigned in certain situations. If a fire results in property damage or personal injury in the State of Texas, there are only two instances when it is not considered arson, and these include:
- The fire was a controlled burn.
- Official authorization was obtained prior to setting the fire.
To be convicted of arson in Texas, you must have either had the intention of setting the fire in question or have acted recklessly – starting a fire while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, for example.