Criminal Defense LawyersMy family and I could not be more grateful
for everything you did for me... - T.S.
Police will be called to investigate almost every fire that causes monetary damage to property or injury to a person. Many police departments have their own fire investigators, but the state of Florida also maintains a specialized branch of law enforcement that is dedicated to arson investigations. The Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosive Investigations handles thousands of cases per hear, and makes hundreds of arrests. In 2017 this agency investigated close to four thousand fires and made almost 450 arrests for arson and fraud. Over $20 million in property damage was deemed the result of arson in 2017, and this number likely increases each year. Florida law enforcement agencies around the state take arson and insurance fraud extremely seriously, and this sometimes leads to biased investigations where innocent defendants can be prosecuted. If you are being investigated or have been charged with arson or burning to defraud it is imperative to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Never speak to the police without representation, as detectives and fire investigators are trained to elicit incriminating statements from unrepresented suspects. Benjamin Herbst is a Florida arson lawyer who specializes in cases involving burning to defraud. He has extensive experience with arson investigations and has worked with fire science experts to expose the state for filing unjust charges. Benjamin is available 7 days a week for a free consultation, and has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach locations. Benjamin handles arson cases in every Florida jurisdiction including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. He is more than willing to travel to meet at a convenient location anywhere in the state to discuss your defense.
Burning with the intent to defraud is classified as a third-degree felony under Florida law section 817.233, which means it carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. Any sentence for this offense may also include large fines, restitution and be run consecutive with other criminal charges. The law defines burning with intent to defraud as willfully and intentionally burning or attempting to burn a building, structure or other personal property with the intent to injure or defraud and insurer. This charge does not require the state to prove that a fire actually occurred. Entering into an agreement with a person to burn a structure for insurance proceeds could classify as an attempt, and be punishable under the law. A person who hires another to burn a structure or building would face the same criminal liability, and could also face arson and other serious felony charges if an injury occurs.
An insurance company or local police department can request the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives to come in and investigate any fire that seems suspicious, and when they show up there is a good chance a that criminal charges will follow. Fire investigators typically look for signs of an accelerant, which is a substance such as gasoline that is used to aid in the spread of fire. Investigators often use K9 units to sniff for the presence of these accelerants, and then perform chemical testing when there is a positive K9 hit. If an accelerant is found, investigators almost always determine that the fire was incendiary, which means it was ignited deliberately. An incendiary fire results in a conclusion of arson, and the first suspect is always the person who seeks to gain something of value from the fire either directly or indirectly. If you have been contacted by law enforcement regarding a fire investigation do not speak without consulting with Florida arson lawyer Benjamin Herbst. Even if you have done nothing wrong you run the risk of being investigated, but a lawyer can protect your rights. Benjamin is standing by to help, and fights vigorously for the dismissal of the case if you happen to be charged. He was achieved acquittals in multiple arson jury trials and has the experience and knowledge to produce the best possible result in your case.