Arson is the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to a property. In today’s blog post, we will determine what it takes to turn a burning building into a crime scene, and how authorities attempt to prove arson.
Reportedly an average of 275 Texans are convicted of arson every year, but how are they prosecuted? Before we determine how people are prosecuted, we have to examine the definition of arson as defined by Texas law.
Texas law defines arson as a person starting a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage.
The keyword in this definition is intent, as prosecutors can charge someone with arson even if there was no significant damage done to a property. In fact, prosecutors can charge someone with arson as long as they start a fire, regardless if it continues after it’s started.
Based on this definition, how do prosecutors attempt to prove arson?
You may be surprised to learn that the police don’t work alone when attempting to prove arson. Police and fire department investigators work together to scout burn sites, collect evidence, and draw conclusions.
The main thing task forces look for is the “point of origin” of a fire. The point of origin is where the fire started, and within the point of origin, authorities look for the ignition source.
The ignition source is the thing that started the fire. If authorities can find the ignition source, they can often determine if the fire was caused by accident or by an arsonist. Therefore, determining the ignition source is often the difference between making an arrest and calling off a manhunt.
Have You Been Accused of Arson?
If you or a loved one is facing arson charges, you have the right to hire experienced representation for your case. The Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC offers award-winning criminal defense that gets results.
Call (214) 238-9392 now for a consultation for your case!