Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently reported that the agency is considering federal arson charges against an Interstate 85 arson suspect. Evidence will be presented to the United States attorney’s office in order to make a determination about whether a federal charge will be filed. Although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigates how fires started, witnesses proved to be pivotal in arresting the individual who is believed to have started the fire. Surveillance was also important in making arrest. The individual in question is currently charged at a state level with arson and criminal damage to property, but the individual could still face charges due at a federal level. Individuals can be charged under federal law for committing arson if the individuals commit any crime on federal property. Federal property can include, but is not limited to, courts, government office buildings, military bases, and post offices. Because these crimes have the potential to result in particularly serious penalties, individuals charged with arson under federal law frequently require the assistance of strong, knowledgeable legal representation.
Applicable Federal Law
The federal crime of arson is defined as occurring when an individual “willfully and maliciously” sets fire to or burns any type of government owned property. If an individual is charged with an arson, there is a risk of being imprisoned for up to 25 years as well as a significant fine. In the event that someone’s life is placed at risk by the fire, an individual will face even more severe penalties including even larger fines and potentially life in prison. Arson also often results in individuals facing restitution orders. Restitution is a payment made to compensate for the damage caused by the arson.
In addition to arson, individuals can also face charges if found in the possession of explosive or any other type of unregistered incendiary device that could result in a fire. If individuals are found in possession of these objects, law enforcement will investigate whether the materials were transported on state lines and impacted interstate or foreign commerce, which can result in particularly serious charges carrying fines and prison sentences.
In creating a strong defense to a federal charge of arson, it is important to quickly retain the assistance of a criminal defense attorney during pre-trial investigation. A skilled attorney can determine mistakes made by prosecution as well as discover evidence that would support add reasonable doubt to a case. One potential defense includes if no damage resulted from an individual’s actions. It should be noted, however, that damage can be slight in order to convict an individual of committing arson.
Contact a Seasoned Decatur Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with federal arson, it is a wise to contact a skilled attorney immediately. The legal counsel at Federal Criminal Law Center in Decatur, Georgia knows how to create a strong defense to your case. Contact our firm today by calling 404.633.3797 or completing our online form.