Arson in the first degree is where a person causes a fire that results in death or serious bodily injury, and it is punishable by no less than ten years and up to thirty years in prison. Second degree arson is charged when no death or injury occurs but the structure burned is a place where people live, work, or do business, including homes, churches, schools, and businesses, and carries a minimum sentence of three years and up to 25 years in prison. Third degree arson involves vehicles, watercraft, personal property, and some structures and has a minimum sentence of one year and up to fifteen years in prison.
Fires can result from many different causes, including electrical problems, faulty appliances, falling asleep with a lit cigarette, or intentional arson. The determination of whether a fire was accidental or intentional can be made based on the results of the arson investigation by the state, statements obtained from a suspect or from witnesses, or even on the results of an arson investigation conducted by an insurance company.
If you have been accused of arson you will need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney to assist in your defense. Lacey Thompson can review the state's evidence, and when appropriate, we will retain a private arson investigator to review the state investigator's determinations or a private investigator to assist in your defense. Call our Myrtle Beach office at 843-444-6122 or contact us online for a free initial consultation regarding your case.