When Does Arson Escalate to Attempted Murder?
Intentionally setting a fire may qualify as arson, but when is the charge escalated to attempted murder? Below, we discuss the laws concerning both arson and attempted murder, as well as how the court associates the two crimes.
How Texas Law Defines Arson
Arson is the use of fire or an explosive to destroy property. Defined under Texas Penal Code 28.01, destroying another person’s property, any property within city limits, or any property with a mortgage or insurance policy is a form of arson. Additionally, you can face arson charges if you were reckless in starting the fire; i.e. the fire endangers, or has the opportunity to endanger, another person.
State law generally classifies the crime as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If the arson resulted in bodily harm or death, whether intentional or unintentional, the charge escalates to a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment, or up to 99 years in prison. If the court finds that the harm or death was intended, you could be charged with arson in conjunction with an attempted murder charge.
How Texas Law Defines Attempted Murder
Attempted murder is the deliberate act of harming another person with the intention of killing them. Unlike murder charges, the victim did not actually die as a result of the attempted murder. This crime is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
If your arson charges escalate to attempted murder charges, the court will charge you with both arson and attempted murder; if convicted, you could face life imprisonment with no parole.
How the Court Can Escalate Your Charges
The court can escalate your arson charges to attempted murder if:
You showed full intent to set the fire and commit arson. This does not have to be a direct act but must simply show that you planned to commit arson. An example would include purchasing the tools necessary to commit the crime.
You showed full intent to kill the alleged victim. This is provable if the fire was, or was intended to be, extreme enough to kill the person. If the court finds that the arson was not extreme enough to seriously hurt or endanger the alleged victim, they cannot find you guilty of attempted murder by arson.
Our McKinney Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Defend Your Rights
If you are facing arson and/or attempted murder charges, contact The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. immediately. Our attorney, Darlina Crowder, has more than 15 years of experience defending clients against criminal charges and diligently fights for your rights throughout the legal process. Together, we proudly serve clients throughout the Metroplex, including Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties.