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Facing Federal Arson Charges? Here is What to Do

 Posted on December 15, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Plano criminal defense lawyerArson charges at the federal level are complex. They come with severe penalties, including years in prison. If federal agents accuse you of arson, it is critical to take the proper legal steps to protect yourself. A Texas lawyer can help you determine the best next step you should take if you find yourself in this situation.

Know the Specifics of Federal Arson Laws

Unlike state arson laws, which vary, federal arson charges follow uniform legal guidelines nationwide. Specifically, federal law prohibits using fire or explosives to willfully destroy or attempt to destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in commerce. Commerce refers to any business-related activities or events which affect interstate trade or transportation.

Federal agents can charge you if they believe you intentionally set fire to property involved in commercial activities that cross state lines. This is why federal arson cases often target attacks on government buildings, banks, businesses, warehouses, and car dealerships. The penalties upon conviction are harsh, including up to 25 years in federal prison.

Consider Alternative Explanations

In some arson cases, the fire stems from an unfortunate accident rather than intentional wrongdoing. Your lawyer’s investigation could uncover an electrical issue, cigarette butt, knocked-over lantern, or other ignition source that witnesses failed to notice.

If someone else sets the fire, your attorney can also shift the investigation elsewhere. Reviewing security tapes, interviewing witnesses, and presenting strong alibis for your location at the time of the fire could instill reasonable doubt.

Explore Plea Bargains

Over 90% of federal cases end with plea bargains rather than criminal trials. If the evidence against you is overwhelming, your attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser charge through a plea deal. This avoids the expense, stress, and unpredictability of the trial. However, make sure you understand all the terms before taking a deal. No outcome is guaranteed, but having a legal professional on your side can help.

Contact a Plano, TX Criminal Defense Lawyer

 Facing an arson charge, especially at a federal level, can be overwhelming. You should get all the legal representation that you can. Working with a Dallas, TX, criminal defense attorney can help ensure you follow the proper steps for your specific case. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-544-0061 for a free consultation to see what actions you can take to pursue the best potential outcome in your case.

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