What are defenses to arson charges in Virginia?

Fire Line Tape at the Scene of an ArsonEvery arson case is unique and the answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Our experienced Virginia arson defense lawyers will review all of the facts of your case to determine which defenses apply and to make sure all of your legal rights are protected.

Arson Defenses to Consider

It is the government’s responsibility to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government fails to prove its case, then you cannot be convicted. In an arson case, the government must prove that the fire was started intentionally by you and that you had malicious intent.

Depending on the specifics of the case, some possible defenses include:

  • Lack of intent. The fire investigation must prove that the fire was set deliberately and not by accident. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that you meant to do something wrong. If you started a fire by accident, then you shouldn’t be convicted of arson and you may provide evidence that proves your lack of intent.
     
  • Mistaken identity. Even if the fire was set intentionally, you can only be convicted of arson if the prosecution proves that you were the one who caused the fire. If it wasn’t you who did it, then you may provide evidence establishing where you were at the time of the fire, what you were doing at the time of the fire, or someone else’s likely involvement in starting the fire.
     
  • Insufficient evidence. Sometimes, you don’t need to present evidence to the court. Instead, your defense lawyers may argue that the government does not have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

More than one of these defenses could apply to your case.

Now Is the Time to Consider Your Arson Defense

If you are convicted of violating an arson law in Virginia, then you face a variety of penalties up to and including life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Your life could change forever.

Whether you have already been charged with arson or you expect to be charged with arson, we encourage you to contact our Northern Virginia criminal defense attorneys today to make sure that all possible defenses are considered and that you are treated fairly.