If you've been accused of setting a damaging fire or causing damage to a property with explosives, you could ultimately find yourself charged with the crime of arson. This is a serious criminal offense that could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specifics of the incident. If a person was present on the property or if the fire caused severe injuries to anyone, you could face hefty fines and a lengthy prison sentence.
Even if you were not aware that your actions started the fire or explosion, you could still face arson charges if the prosecutor thinks that you were negligent in any way. That's why it is critical to take any allegations of arson seriously and hire an experienced arson defense lawyer right away.
Were you arrested or do you suspect that you might be under investigation for an alleged arson in the greater Wichita area? If so, do not despair. You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you, and you can fight the charges you face.
I'm attorney James Pratt, and when you hire me, I will immediately step in and protect your rights, conduct a thorough investigation, and fight to get your arson charges reduced or dismissed. We can explore all of your legal options as soon as you call (316) 262-2600 or contact me online to set up a free consultation.
Arson Laws in Kansas
Under Kansas Statute § 21-5812(a)(1), arson is the willful damage or destruction of a building or property by fire or explosion.
A person may be charged with arson if they damage property:
- Owned by another person, without their consent
- With the intent to commit insurance fraud or defraud a lienholder
- While illegally making or attempting to make controlled substances (including substances for human consumption)
Knowingly damaging a dwelling is a severity level 6 person felony arson crime. Accidentally damaging a dwelling or any arson crime involving property that is not a dwelling is a severity level 7 person felony.
Kansas Statute § 21-5812(a)(2) establishes that arson can be committed accidentally if a person is attempting to manufacture a controlled substance.
A person can also be charged with aggravated arson under Kansas Statute § 21-5812(b) if they commit arson and people are present in the building or on the property. A person could also be charged with this serious offense if the fire causes great bodily harm or disfigurement to a firefighter or law enforcement officer while they are fighting or investigating the fire.
Aggravated arson is a severity level 3 person felony if the offense causes a substantial risk of bodily harm. It is a severity level 6 person felony if it does not result in substantial risk of physical injury.
Aggravated arson that results in great bodily harm or disfigurement to a firefighter or law enforcement officer in the course of fighting or investigating the fire is a severity level 3 person felony.
What are the Penalties for Arson in Kansas?
The Kansas Sentencing Guidelines establish sentences to be issued for criminal convictions like arson. , The penalties will be based on the severity level of the crime as well as the number of prior criminal convictions.
Arson that was deemed accidental (and occurred when no one was in the building or on the property) could mean misdemeanor charges that carry fines, minimal incarceration, and possible probation.
More serious allegations (like intentional actions and an explosion or fire that is set with people present and/or causes serious bodily harm) could result in a felony conviction that could carry fines, lengthy incarceration, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
The statute of limitations on most criminal offenses is five years, but exceptions can be made in cases in which a prosecution is pending against the defendant for the same conduct, the facts of the crime are concealed, or an alleged offender has left the state or is hiding so that process cannot be served.
Defending Against Arson Charges
If you've been falsely accused of arson, or if the fire or explosion was just an accident, it is vital that you contact me, attorney James Pratt, right away. Prosecutors will aggressively pursue arson charges and will work hard to prove that you intentionally set the fire, often in an attempt to defraud insurers or lienholders, or for a variety of other reasons. Even if there is evidence that implicates you in the crime, we could still refute it and defend your freedom and your livelihood.
Contact me to discuss the specifics of your situation during a confidential consultation. Regardless of what happened, I will prepare an aggressive defense on your behalf. We will work to show that you did not commit arson intentionally or recklessly, or we may allege that there is not enough evidence to secure a conviction. If the evidence is overwhelming, we can also work to get the penalties against you reduced as much as possible.
Together, we will fight back against the charges you face, and will seek the best possible outcome for your specific situation. You don't have the carry the burden of arson allegations on your own. Turn to me for experienced legal assistance.
I am a member of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and Kansas Bar Association. Call (316) 262-2600 or contact me, James Pratt of Pratt Law, LLC online to receive a free consultation.