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Arson;  Malicious Burning of A Dwelling House


Virginia Beach Attorney For Arson Defense

ArsonAttorneyVirginiaBeachIn Virginia, arson is one of the most serious crimes punishable by life in prison. The charge is a felony that requires significant scientific studies and investigation to be proven in a court of law. Arson is also one of the most difficult matters to prove in court.

To be convicted of arson, the prosecution must prove an individual set the fire intentionally, and that the setting of the fire was with the malicious intent to destroy the particular building. Arson can be charged whether the building was the property of the charged individual or not; and whether the building was occupied or unoccupied. The only difference is the level of the felony charge and the corresponding maximum punishment.

Proving An Arson Case In Virginia

Arson is one of the few charges in Virginia law where the presumption of the main element, i.e., starting the fire, is in favor of the defendant. The law presumes the fire was not set intentionally, but was started by nature with no human involvement. The prosecution must prove otherwise and exclude every reasonable possibility of a chance combustion. This requires an enormous fire investigation and fire scene analysis. This data must be rigorously defended by experts on arson matters.

The individual charged with arson must also be shown to be the only person who could have started the fire. Virginia case law requires that the evidence in an arson case “unerringly” point to the charged individual by showing an “unbroken link” between the start of the fire and that person.

Finally, the prosecution must show the fire was set “maliciously”. By this the law requires the prosecutor to show the individual by premeditation and deliberation intended the acts for which they are charged.

Getting An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer On Your Side

Garrett Law Group, PLC in Virginia Beach have extensive experience in defending individuals charged with serious and complex matters, such as arson. Our attorneys have investigators at the ready to review the evidence in your case and fight for your innocence and freedom. Contact our office today for a free consultation if you’ve been charged with arson in Virginia Beach. (757) 422-4646. Our phones are answered 24/7/365 to serve you.

 Virginia Statutes:

§ 18.2-77. Burning or destroying dwelling house, etc. (Arson).
§ 18.2-78. What not deemed dwelling house.
§ 18.2-79. Burning or destroying meeting house, etc.
§ 18.2-80. Burning or destroying any other building or structure.
§ 18.2-81. Burning or destroying personal property, standing grain, etc.
§ 18.2-82. Burning building or structure while in such building or structure with intent to commit felony.
§ 18.2-83. Threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation; false information as to danger to such buildings, etc.; punishment; venue.
§ 18.2-84. Causing, inciting, etc., commission of act proscribed by § 18.2-83.
§ 18.2-85. Manufacture, possession, use, etc., of fire bombs or explosive materials or devices; penalties.
§ 18.2-86. Setting fire to woods, fences, grass, etc.
§ 18.2-87. Setting woods, etc., on fire intentionally whereby another is damaged or jeopardized.
§ 18.2-87.1. Setting off chemical bombs capable of producing smoke in certain public buildings.
§ 18.2-88. Carelessly damaging property by fire.