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Can arson ever be accidental?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense

When a property catches on fire, there is usually an investigation to determine the cause. Depending on the findings, you or someone else may be accused of arson.

Arson is an intentional and malicious act. It involves someone setting fire to another person’s property, no matter what that property is. Boats, machinery, cars, homes and other property may all qualify. It’s also possible to be accused of arson for starting a forest fire or burning down someone’s fields.

Proving that a fire was arson isn’t always easy, but the firefighters and investigators will look at burn patterns and how the fire spread to determine if it was started intentionally. For example, someone intending to set a home on fire might use lighter fluid and multiple ignition points. This would throw up a red flag for investigators.

Not every accusation is legitimate when it comes to arson

That isn’t to say that every person accused of arson is actually an arsonist. It is possible to be falsely accused due to the circumstances of a fire. For example, you might have used lighter fluid and multiple ignition points to start a large bonfire without the intention of burning down nearby property. If the fire got out of control unintentionally, then you should not face arson charges.

Before you are accused, the investigators should rule out all accidental causes, such as candles that have caught a home on fire or faulty wiring. If you face accusations or charges, then it’s time to start building a defense. You should get to know your legal rights before you speak with investigators or the authorities.