Being charged with a federal crime can have lasting, profound consequences on your future. Many federal crimes carry very serious criminal charges and, if you are convicted of a federal offense, you could find yourself serving time in a federal prison and left with a criminal record. Your entire life could be changed as a result of the mere accusation due to the difficulty of defending yourself against federal charges.
Some types of conduct are illegal under both state and federal law. Arson is an example of one of those types of conduct. There are certain types of arson offenses that are illegal under both federal law and state law.
If you commit arson in violation of federal law, it is not up to you where you will be prosecuted. If the federal government decides to press charges, you will have to cope with the serious accusations that have been made against you.
You need to ensure you have a skilled, experienced attorney to represent you whenever you are facing arson charges, whether those charges are brought by the state or by the federal government. However, not all attorneys are familiar with federal arson charges or able to provide the help and support you need as you defend against these grave accusations.
LV Criminal Defense is here and ready to help. We know the federal penal code inside and out and we have successfully provided representation to many defendants facing federal charges. We can work diligently on your behalf to understand the nature of the charges and the evidence against you and to devise a sound legal strategy that reduces the likelihood you will be convicted.
To find out more about the ways in which our federal criminal defense attorneys can help you if you live in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, or surrounding areas and you are charged with arson, give us a call today.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Federal laws against arson are found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 5. There is only one statute within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 5 so if you are charged with arson under federal law, you will be charged under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 5 section 81. If your alleged offense does not fit within the definition found in 18 U.S. Code section 81, then you will instead be charged with a state crime. While this could still be serious and there may be the potential for a lengthy prison sentence, you will at least have your case heard in state court and be sent to state and not federal prison if convicted.
The only circumstances under which you will be charged with a federal crime under the terms of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 5 are in situations where you willfully and maliciously start a fire within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
If you are within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States, you can be charged under 18 U.S. Code section 81 with arson if you willfully and maliciously set fire to any building, structure, vessel, machinery, or building materials. You can also be charged if you burn any building, structure, vessel, machinery, or building materials.
The statute also makes clear that you can be charged if you willfully burn or set fire to supplies; military stores; naval stores; munitions of warn; any structural aids for navigation or shipping; or any appliances for navigation or shipping.
You can be charged under this statute not only if you personally act to set fire to or burn any structures or materials listed within the statute, but also if you attempt to set fire to such items or if you conspire with others to set fire to such items that are under the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
In the event that you are convicted of burning the items listed within the statute; of setting fire to the items; of attempting to burn or set fire to the items, or of conspiring to burn or set fire to the items, you can face up to 25 years of imprisonment under the terms of 18 U.S. Code section 81. You could potentially also face a fine equal to the greater of the standard fine under Title 18 or the cost of repairing and replacing any property that was damaged or was destroyed as a result of the fire.
In the event that the fire you were involved with is in a dwelling or if the fire causes the life of any person to be put in jeopardy, you could face an even harsher sentence. You could both be fined and face the potential for up to life imprisonment in a federal prison.
The prosecutor has the burden of proving that you committed arson as prohibited by 18 U.S. Code section 81 in order for you to be convicted of this federal offense. This means that the prosecutor must prove that you set on fire or burned any of the listed items or structures within the state that were under the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or that you attempted to burn or set fire to such items; or that you conspired with others to burn or set fire to listed items or structures.
You do not have to prove you are innocent, but rather can avoid conviction if you are able to introduce reasonable doubt. A federal criminal defense attorney can help you to explore whether you have options to defend against charges or whether you should try to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce potential penalties you face.
LV Criminal Defense is experienced both in fighting charges and negotiating plea agreements that reduce penalties, so we can provide the help you need to get the best possible outcome if you are accused of arson. Give us a call today to find out more about the assistance our firm can provide if you live in Arizona, Utah, California or Nevada and you are faced with federal charges.