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Virginia Arson Lawyer

Intentionally setting fire to any building or structure is considered a serious criminal offense in Virginia and is almost always prosecuted as a felony arson charge whether the defendant has a history of prior criminal convictions or not. When you stand accused of committing arson anywhere in the Commonwealth, the actions you take in the next few weeks and months could have a massive impact on the entire rest of your life.

You have important rights when facing charges of this nature, and enforcing those rights proactively and effectively could be much easier with the help of a qualified defense attorney. From start to finish of your criminal proceedings, a seasoned Virginia arson lawyer could help you understand exactly what you are being charged with, explain the sanctions you might face upon conviction and your options for defending yourself, and work tenaciously on your behalf to secure a favorable final case result.

How State Law Defines the Crime of Arson

According to Code of Virginia §§ 18.2-77 through 18.2-88, “arson” can involve a number of different buildings and means of burning, but generally entails someone maliciously burning a structure. The severity of arson as a criminal offense depends primarily on three factors:

  • What type of building or structure is targeted
  • Whether anyone was inside the structure when it was burned or destroyed
  • The financial value of the structure and all property inside it.

It is worth reiterating that the prosecution must establish malicious intent on the part of the accused for them to convict them of arson. This means someone who did not intend to cause harm by setting a fire generally should not be convicted of felony arson.

As a Virginia arson attorney could explain, though, someone who causes property damage by carelessly or negligently starting a brushfire or wildfire may be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor offense under VA Code § 18.2-88. If convicted, that person can be held financially liable for all expenses related to containing and putting out the resulting fire.

Penalties for Different Types of Arson

Someone convicted of intentionally setting fire to any occupied dwelling, hotel, medical facility, or church may face a prison sentence upon conviction of anywhere from five years to life imprisonment and a maximum $100,000 fine. Intentionally setting fire to any other kind of occupied building or structure is a Class 3 felony, which means a conviction could be punished by five to 20 years in prison plus a $100,000 fine.

Anyone who commits arson against virtually any unoccupied building or dwelling may face prosecution for a Class 4 felony, meaning a conviction could lead to a prison term of between two and ten years plus a $100,000 fine. If the total value of property damage from an intentionally set fire is less than $1,000, the charge may be considered only a Class 1 misdemeanor. A qualified attorney could go into more detail during a private consultation about the distinctions between different levels of arson under Virginia law.

Contact a Virginia Arson Attorney for Assistance

With few exceptions, arson is always a felony offense in Virginia punishable by mandatory minimum prison terms and potentially multiple decades behind bars. Anyone accused of intentionally causing this sort of property damage should make contacting skilled legal counsel their absolute top priority.

The assistance of a knowledgeable Virginia arson lawyer could make a world of difference in your ability to protect your rights and best interests. Call today to schedule a private meeting.

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
18 Liberty St SW

Leesburg VA 20175
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
32 Waterloo St

Warrenton VA 20186
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
9119 Church Street

Manassas VA 20110
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
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