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Arson Laws

What is arson?

Arson is the act of intentionally setting fire to property for the purpose of destruction. Many arson crimes are committed in order to claim insurance on individual property. People who commit arson can face stiff penalties and or prison sentences. Below are a few questions that have been asked about arson.

Does a voluntary confession count in an arson charge, if it was obtained with promise of a lower sentence?

Case Details: My step-son is in GA prison for arson. There was less than $500 damage, but he was given a harsh sentence because there were people in the house he didn't know about. The police held him for a long time and told him they could help with getting a lower sentense if he confessed.

The US Supreme Court says that this type of action is fine. The police use these techniques to get confessions from the people who have committed the crime. During the course of an investigation, the police have the right to mislead a person with false hopes of getting a lighter sentence for their role in a crime when the police don't have this type of leverage. The police can and do use deception to gain a conviction. The only exception to this rule is a police officer cannot lie under oath.

If the police read your step-son his rights, the police were within their rights to extract the confession in this manner. However, if your step-son was not read his Miranda rights, he could request a suppression hearing. During the hearing, the court would determine if your step-sons rights had been violated due to the police not reading him his rights. If the court finds this, his confession could be sealed from entering the trial.

If a person committed arson and realizes the mistake, what is the best thing he could do?

Additional Question: How can a person convince a judge that they have learned their lesson and show they are on the road to changing their life? 

There are a few things that your friend could do to impress the judge. Telling the judge how sorry he is for committing arson is ok, but his actions will go further in convincing the judge that he is attempting to do better. Your friend needs to excel in every aspect of his life. This means he needs to work every day and express a desire to thrive at his job. This will help if he needs input from his employer about his work performance.

Another thing that will help your friend is to get involved in volunteer work. Whether it's a youth group or charitable organization, volunteering is another way of receiving favorable references. He should get involved with something that he is interested in or skilled in, such as habitat for humanity if he is skilled in carpentry, or volunteer at an animal shelter if he likes animals. By doing this, he will excel.

Paying any damages or restitution for the arson is another important step. He needs to try to have the money for the damages taken care of before or during court. This will show the court that your friend is attempting to make amends for his mistake.

What can a person do if all the fines aren't paid at the time of probation after being convicted of arson?

Case Details: The person was convicted of arson and given a 3 year probation sentence. The probation is due to end in a few months but he hasn't paid all of his fines and the probation officer says he won't be allowed off of probation or an ankle monitor until these are paid.

Usually, in this type of situation you would petition the court to make modifications to your son's probation. The judge will have the final say in this decision. When a person owes money to the court or other expenses, the court will usually allow the person to be placed on a lighter probation until the money is paid. Once all expenses are taken care of, the person will be removed from probation. If the probation officer is requiring your son to wear the ankle monitor until the expenses paid in full, you need to ask the judge to lower your son's probation while he finishes paying the money due.

What happens if caught while possessing guns while on probation for threatening to commit arson?

Usually, when a person is placed on probation, they are required to remove any firearms from their possession. Evidently you didn't do this and now your probation officer is probably going to try and rescind your probation. If this is the case, you need to hire an attorney to represent you in court. This is a serious situation that you are in. While it is possible that the judge will let you off with a warning, you could possibly face jail time or worse, have to stay in prison for the original sentencing. You need to explain to the court why you still had your guns while being on probation. If this was a mere oversight on your part and you have successfully completed all other areas of your probation, this issue may turn out in your favor.

Arson is an illegal act that can potentially send a person to prison for several years. If you have questions about arson, you should contact an Expert.

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