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Ventilation can alter burn patterns used in arson investigations

| Oct 24, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Many factors can affect the way that a fire spreads. When there’s reason to believe that arson was the cause, the investigators will work to determine the cause of the fire. These investigators are very good at what they do; however, they aren’t infallible. When investigators make errors, there’s a chance that an innocent person will be accused of arson. This could lead to many impacts for that individual.

A study done by Underwriters Laboratories and the National Institute of Justice found that unwarranted incarcerations and prosecutions have occurred because the investigator didn’t have a comprehensive knowledge of ventilation-controlled and post-flashover fire damage. This could lead to the investigator stating arson as the cause of the fire when it wasn’t a factor.

Why is this important for criminal cases?

Arson cases sometimes rely heavily on expert testimony from the investigators, so these professionals must provide accurate information. Most laypeople will look to those experts to tell them what the evidence in the case means. This could lead to a person who didn’t commit arson being convicted of the crime based on the expert’s testimony, which might be incorrect.

Anyone who’s facing arson charges should ensure they’re working on a defense. There are many factors to consider when you’re in this position. While many think that the investigators know what they’re doing, there’s a chance that they didn’t think of specific variables that might impact your case. Working with someone familiar with these cases is imperative. Taking time to begin weighing various defense strategies now gives you ample time to determine which one to present in your case.