Jacksonville has the appeal of a big city while still being able to hold on to that small town feel. Most residents enjoy the shops of downtown, the beaches, and the multitude of options for food and drink. However, like any city, Jacksonville is subject to crime from time to time. Recently, I read an article about a potential arson of a mobile home off of Phillips Highway. This is one a several alleged arson plaguing Jacksonville in the past months. But it leads to the question; what is Arson and the penalties attached thereto?
In Jacksonville Florida, Arson is defined by Florida Statute § 806.01 as “any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged:
- Any dwelling, whether occupied or not, its contents;
- Any structure, or contents thereof, where persons are normally present, such as: jails, prisons, or detention centers; hospitals…; or
- Any other structure that he or she knew or had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human being.”
Arson is a first degree Felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or fines not exceeding $10,000. However, if it is determined the alleged Arson does not fit into the criteria set forth above, then the crime is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
In this recent case Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported witnesses saw a man running out of the mobile home moments before it was engulfed in flames. The Police also report the home owners were in a heated dispute with the owner for alleged drug activity within the home. As of today, no arrests have been made. But as a Criminal Defense Lawyer the police are going to go after the owner of the home first because of this alleged “dispute” between the parties. However, given the available information, there is not enough description of the offender to make an arrest.
Arson is a serious Jacksonville Criminal Offense and going through the legal system alone is not easy. The Jacksonville legal system is not always advantageous to an unrepresented Jacksonville Criminal Defendant. That is where the advise and counsel of a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer may prove to be invaluable in your Jacksonville Criminal Case. So, if you are facing a Jacksonville Arson Offense or any other Jacksonville Criminal Offense, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer today.