In the second time in the past six months, a Florida mosque was set aflame, according to the Insurance Journal. According to the Insurance Journal, the mosque of the Islamic Society of New Tampa was the location of a most recent arson attack, and while no one was injured, the Islamic community has growing concerns. A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida commented that “It is worrisome that our community has fallen victim to what appears to be another hate crime.” While hate crimes carry special punishments for those who are caught, arson itself is a felony.
Arson is a Felony of the First Degree
The other Florida mosque that was victim to arson, which occurred on September 11th of 2016, was the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. The arsonist was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Arson is a first-degree felony, which carries a punishment of up to 30 years in Florida and a maximum fine of $10,000. According to Florida statute 806.01, arson is defined as the willful and unlawful “commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged” any of the following:
- A dwelling;
- Any structure where people are normally present, whether any are currently present or not; or
- Any structure that a person had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a person.
A structure includes a building with an enclosed area, a roof over it, any real property and appurtenances thereto, a tent, a portable building, a vehicle, a vessel, a watercraft, or an aircraft.
The Defense of Arson in West Palm Beach
There are a few defense strategies to arson charges. For instance, if you did not intentionally set a fire to destroy the structure, you should not have to face any arson charges. While you may face other fines or charges for accidentally causing the structure to be set aflame, a person cannot commit arson accidentally. Another defense of arson is the degree of damage, if any, that you as the defendant caused. For arson to have occurred, there must be actual evidence of damage to the structure. Merely starting a fire in a structure and intending for it to burn that structure down does not constitute arson. Damage must have also occurred for arson to have been committed. The punishment you face for committing arson varies depending on the circumstances of the crime. The proximity of other buildings, the extent of the damage, the potential danger to other people, and your past criminal history, are all taken into account by the court.
Contact an Experienced West Palm Beach Arson Defense Attorney At Once
The Skier Law Firm is here to assist you in any of your criminal defense needs. If you are facing arson charges, you need an attorney with experience and a proven history of success in defending such clients. We encourage you to contact a criminal defense attorney with the West Palm Beach law offices of the Skier Law Firm today at (561) 220-3355 at your soonest availability.