Michigan Arson Charges
Do you need a Michigan arson attorney? The The Kronzek Firm has been successfully defending arson cases in Michigan for almost 20 years. The defense of an arson case requires a combination of trial skill and technical knowledge that many attorneys don’t possess. If you need help with an arson case, don’t hesitate to call our expert criminal defense attorneys at (866) 766-5245.
Expert Michigan Arson Defense
There are harsh penalties for the crime of arson in Michigan, even when the property destroyed belongs to the accused. If a Fire Marshall or arson investigator begins investigating a client’s case, we can be of assistance even before criminal charges have been filed. Suspects should avoid being questioned by police without having legal representation present. It is very important to protect an accused’s rights.
The Role of an Insurance Company Arson Investigator
Today, most insurance companies have provisions which require the insured to fully cooperate with their investigation. This can mean giving recorded and even sworn statements (interviews conducted under oath.) Failure to cooperate may mean that your insurance claim will not get paid. If you are being asked to cooperate with an insurance company arson investigation, you should have an attorney assist you.
In almost all instances, an insurance company investigator will share their information with the police or fire marshall. In many instances, the insurance company will actually work alongside the police. In those instances, talking to the insurance investigator is no different than talking to police, except that your Miranda rights don’t apply.
What is Arson?
Generally, arson is a willful or malicious burning of property. There are three types of arson: Arson involving houses; arson involving other buildings or real property; and arson involving personal property. These are specific categories of property crimes that have serious consequences if convicted,regardless of whether the individual owns the property or not. This offense is also further distinguished between maliciously burning property just to cause damage or destroying property for financial gain.
What is First-Degree Arson?
First Degree Arson includes willfully or maliciously burning or exploding a multiunit building where at least one unit is a dwelling, regardless of whether, occupied, unoccupied, or vacant.
Furthermore, the burning of any structure is first-degree arson if it results in physical injury to another person. Also, although more uncommon, the burning of a mine falls under this category as well.
Penalty for First Degree Arson in Michigan
This felony carries a maximum penalty of life, or any term of years, in prison; a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
Felony Murder and Arson
It is also very important to note that any murder that is committed during an attempt or successful completion of arson will result in life in prison. This is also known as felony murder.
What is Second Degree Arson?
A person who willfully or maliciously burns, damages, or destroys a dwelling (house or other home adapted for human living), regardless of whether it is occupied or otherwise, including its contents, may be charged with second-degree arson.
Penalty for Third Degree Arson
The maximum penalty for this felony is 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
What is Third-Degree Arson?
Regarding the burning of any other real property—other than a house, any person who maliciously or willfully burns any other real property or building, or its contents, may be charged with the felony of Third Degree Arson. This is for any personal property having a value of $20,000.00 or more or valuing $1,000.00 or more if the individual has 1 or more prior convictions.
Penalty for Third Degree Arson
The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
What is Fourth-Degree Arson?
Fourth Degree Arson involves willfully and maliciously burning, damaging, or destroying personal property valued at $1,000.00 up to $20,000.00. This also includes personal property valued at $200.00 or more if the defendant has 1 or more previous convictions.
In addition, this includes willfully or negligently setting fire to prairies, woods, or grounds or allowing it to spread to another individual’s property causing any damage.
Penalty for Fourth Degree Arson
The maximum penalty for this felony is 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
Arson of Insured Property
The crime of Arson of Insured Property occurs when a person willfully or maliciously burns or explodes a dwelling, structure, or personal property with intent to defraud the insurer. This applies regardless of who owns the property in question.
Penalty for Arson of an Insured Dwelling
For burning a dwelling or residence, a violator may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, or any term of years, a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both. The most common scenario for this crime is a person burning their own home in order to collect insurance proceeds.
Penalty for Arson of an insured Building
For any other building, the maximum penalty is 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
Penalty for Arson of Insured Personal Property
For personal property, the maximum punishment is up to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
Insurance fraud is a very serious crime. If you believe you are under investigation for this offense, contact us today.
What is Fifth Degree Arson?
An individual who intentionally damages or destroys personal property valued at $1,000.00 or less, using fire or explosives, and has 1 or more prior convictions may be charged with a misdemeanor.
Penalty for Fifth Degree Arson
A person found guilty of Fifth Degree Arson in Michigan can be sentenced to 1 year in the county jail, a fine up to $2,000.00, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater, or both.
We Have Decades of Experience in Arson Defense
Hiring experienced and aggressive legal advocates is vital in arson cases. Arson is notoriously difficult to prove. Rarely is there direct evidence of the lighting of a fire by an accused. The evidence of arson is typically circumstantial. Proof is shown by the absence of certain conditions and circumstances indicating that the fire was accidental. We fight overcharging by prosecutors, analyze criminal evidence, and craft strong legal strategies. Call The Kronzek Firm for a free consultation at (866) 7-NoJail!. Our attorneys are available to provide assistance and available around the clock for emergency situations as well.
More information on Arson Charges
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