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Arson

A large amount of fires that occur each year are due to arson. Some arsonists are motivated by psychological reasons, while others are motivated by potential financial gains.  As common as arson is, many people neither understand what constitutes as arson nor do they understand the severity of the penalties a conviction for arson carries.

There are varying degrees of arson, ranging from first-degree misdemeanor arson to first-degree felony arson. It is important to understand that no matter what degree of arson you have been charged with, it is a serious crime that can result in significant prison time.

Destin Arson Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with arson, it is important to be proactive in defending yourself against these allegations. In some cases, an attorney can successfully file pretrial motions that can lead to cases being dismissed altogether. However, these motions have deadlines and a lawyer needs ample time to prepare them. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation about your alleged arson throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City.

The attorneys at Adkinson Law Firm, LLC have experience dealing with arson cases in Florida and will make every effort to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at if you have been charged with arson in Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County and surrounding areas.


Definition of Arson in Florida

According to Fla. Stat. § 806.01, an individual can be charged with a felony of the first degree if he or she intentionally, or while in commission of a felony, by fire or explosion, causes damage to:

  • Any dwelling, whether occupied or not, or its contents;
  • Any structure where people are normally present; or
  • Any other structure that he or she knew or had reason to believe was occupied.

An individual can be charged with a felony of the second degree if he or she:

  • Intentionally, or while in the commission of a felony, by fire or explosion, damages any structure, whether the property belongs to the individual or to someone else; or
  • Commits arson that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a firefighter or any other person, regardless of intent or lack thereof.

If an individual possesses, manufactures, transports, or disposes of a fire bomb with the intent to use that fire bomb to willfully cause damage by fire or explosion to any structure, he or she can be charged with a felony of the third degree.

Anyone who commits arson that causes bodily harm to a firefighter or any other person, is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor, regardless of intent or lack thereof.


Definitions Related to Arson

In order to better understand your specific charges, it is important to understand the terminology associated with arson. According to Fla. Stat. § 806.01 and § 806.111 common terms and definitions associated with arson are as follows:

Structure - a building of any kind, any enclosed area with a roof over it, any real property, any tent or other portable building, any vehicle, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft.

Dispose of - to give, loan, offer, offer for sale, sell, or transfer.

Firebomb - a container containing flammable or combustible liquid, which has a wick or similar device that is capable of being ignited or has other means capable of causing ignition.


Penalties for Arson Acts in Florida

If an individual is convicted of arson in Florida, his or her sentence will depend on the degree of arson he or she was convicted of. According to Fla. Stat. § 775.082 and § 775.083 the penalties are as follows:

  • If convicted of felony arson in the first degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to 30 years and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
  • If convicted of felony arson in the second degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to 15 years and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
  • If convicted of felony arson in the third degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
  • If convicted of misdemeanor arson in the first degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. 

Sentences, even for the same crime, can vary from case to case. These are simply the parameters that each sentence must fall under. The prior criminal record of the defendant is often taken into account, as well as whether or not anyone was injured or killed as a result of the alleged offense. If the defendant has numerous prior convictions on his or her record, or the alleged actions lead to the death of an individual, the defendant is more likely to receive a harsher sentence. 


Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | South Walton Arson Attorney

If you have been charged with arson throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County, contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC. Our firm aggressively defends clients against all kinds of property crimes and works to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Clay Adkinson is a dedicated DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorney who will work tirelessly to fight the allegations against you and help you avoid the most serious penalties for your alleged offense. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation on your alleged offense by calling or submitting an online form.