What is Arson?

Found under the Florida statute 806.01, first degree arson is defined as any person who intentionally starts a fire or explosion or starts a fire or explosion while committing a felony that causes damage to any dwelling (occupied or not) or its contents, any structure where people are normally present, or any other structure that he or she knows or reasonably knows is occupied. As explained in the statute, structure refers to, “any building of any kind, any enclosed area with a roof over it, any real property and appurtenances thereto, any tent or other portable building, and any vehicle, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft.” Second degree arson is defined as any person who intentionally starts a fire or explosion or starts a fire or explosion while committing a felony that damages any property not covered in first degree arson.

Various Arson Crimes
  • Fraud
  • Mischief
  • Revenge
  • Crime concealment
  • Pyromania
  • Vanity-impress others

The penalties for arson crimes can range from fines to decades in prison depending on the facts and circumstances and whether a person is charged with first degree arson or second degree arson. A person’s criminal history will also have a great deal to do with determining the penalty they are facing upon conviction. Under Florida law, the crime of first degree arson is a first degree felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in state prison. Second degree arson is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison. Found under statue 806.031, if an arson results in any bodily harm to another person, additional misdemeanor charges can be charged. If an arson results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to another person, additional felony of the second-degree charges will be pursued. In Florida, if you willfully attempt to or start a fire with the intent to defraud an insurance company, you can be charged with burning the insurer. Burning to defraud the insurer is a third degree felony in Florida and is punishable up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.


There are numerous defenses available in arson cases. There’s no one defense that fits every case. However, the two primary defenses in arson cases are lack of identification and lack of intent. There needs to be enough evidence to suggest the defendant was responsible for the fire and a clear motive for the defendant to have wanted to cause damage. Facing a criminal charge can feel very overwhelming, but by meeting Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Mark Eiglarsh, you will immediately feel more comfortable knowing that you have the best Miami and Fort Lauderdale defense attorney ready to assist you. Perhaps what law enforcement determined to be arson was actually an accident. Perhaps you, the accused, is the actual victim. Allow the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh to help you build a strong defense and give you sound advice.

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