Arson Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas
The first thing you should do if ever arrested for arson is use your right to remain silent. DO NOT provide any statements to arson investigators, police officers, insurance companies, or any other person without an arson attorney in Houston present to protect your rights.
It’s not just Houston, all Texas arson crimes carry steep civil and criminal ramifications. Arson investigators are one of the most rapidly responding teams in the city. Protect your financial and personal interests by calling an attorney immediately.
Work with a Defense Team That Cares
Serving Houston and all of Texas, our team at Thiessen Law Firm is qualified and prepared to protect your legal rights to the fullest extent. We are true fighters, ready to go to battle for you inside and outside of the criminal courtroom. If you want a top-notch firm on your side that will treat you like family, you have come to the right place.
There’s no time to waste – give us a call at (713) 864-9000 today for a free evaluation of your arson case. While you read this, the police, prosecution and insurance investigators are actively working to build their case against you.
Penalties and Charges for Arson in Houston, TX
Because Houston arson affects both public safety and property, the accused automatically face felony charges. (Further reading: Restrictions on Convicted Felons in Texas & Life After a Felony Conviction.)
First, it’s important to note that Houston arson does not refer to wild fires. Nor does it typically mean other unforced fires, such as lightning strikes.
Texas Penal Code § 28.02 defines arson as the criminal offense that involves intentionally setting fire to any building, structure, property or open land under the following specific circumstances:
- When it is insured against damage/destruction
- When it is owned by another person
- When another person’s property is inside the structure
- When it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest
- When the offense is committed with recklessness and disregard to the safety of others or their property
Things to take into consideration: the value of property, the classification of the property and whether there were any injuries or deaths. Arson includes penalties of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees. In Texas, the accused may face life in prison or 5 to 99 years in prison for a 1st degree felony; 2 to 20 years in prison for a 2nd degree felony; or 2 to 10 years in prison for a 3rd degree felony. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed.
Is it Arson to Burn Your Own House Down?
Occasionally we receive the question, “Is it arson to burn your own house down?” Yes. It is still a felony crime to burn your own house down. Many investigators will immediately pursue arson insurance fraud in these cases. According to the Insurance Research Council, more than 10% of arson cases involve insurance fraud.
Why is an Arson Defense Attorney in Houston so Important?
First, arson charges are harsh: not many offenses are automatic felonies. Further, the nature of arson laws can make it difficult for defendants to figt for their freedom.
For example there are some circumstances where if you were suspected of starting a fire and it was put out before causing destruction or damage, you could still face complex charges. (See more: Can I get my felony expunged in Texas?)
Second, arson charges can often be intertwined with other criminal charges, depending on the specifics of the case. Criminal mischief, insurance fraud hard and homicide could all come in to play in arson cases. You don’t want to be searching for a Houston murder defense attorney.
What’s the average sentence for arson?
Many prospective clients want to know, “What is the average sentence for arson?” It’s a great question with a difficult answer. The reality for Houston arson charges is that every case has unique circumstances, so it can be difficult to answer without the specifics of your case.
However, crime statistics do offer some insight into the most common types of arson damage. According to the most recent FBI crime reporting data, 42% of arson crimes involved structures (such as houses or public buildings). Other property such as crops, timber and fences accounted for 35% of arson cases, while 22% of arson cases involved mobile property.
Your Arson Lawyer in Houston
It’s hard to find a good arson attorney in Houston. Many defense attorneys have flashy ads or websites, but few are certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Mark Thiessen is an arson lawyer in Houston who is certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Each year, Thiessen Law Firm helps hundreds of satisfied clients defend their freedom and reputation.
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Testimonials for our Houston Arson & Criminal Defense Attorneys
Our reputation as arson defense attorneys and criminal defense lawyers in Houston is grounded in the satisfaction of our clients. Every case is different, but we can promise the same unparalleled fight for your freedom every time. Here’s what one of our recent clients had to say about Thiessen Law Firm.
“Thank you, Mark, for saving my career. I’m in medical sales, so when I was wrongly accused and my career was on the line, I called the best: Mark Thiessen. Mark came highly referred to me from my friends. After reading his reviews on line and meeting him in his office, I knew I could trust Mark to fight for me. Every time he walks in the court the DAs, Judge and staff all greet him. I was honestly proud that was my lawyer when he came in…” – Beau Continue reading the testimonial.