Police, prosecutors, and courts take arson cases very seriously. Being amongst the most serious criminal cases in Texas, arson allegations can result in serious consequences. Lengthy prison sentences and hefty financial penalties are common. Moreover, these cases can damage to your reputation, employment opportunities, family and future.
With so much on the line, you can’t put your case in just anyone’s hands. You need someone with the experience, dedication, and courtroom skills necessary to mount the best possible defense. If you’re looking for that type of lawyer, you’ve found Mike Howard, award-winning Dallas arson defense lawyer.
Dallas Arson Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been accused of arson in Dallas, contact the Law Office of Mike Howard. Most importantly, Dallas arson lawyer Mike Howard has the experience, trial skills, and dedication that you need when you are fighting for your life. We will do everything we can to fight for you. Moreover, Mr. Howard will give you an honest assessment of your case and explain the law and your legal options.
A Different Kind of Lawyer
We approach our clients differently than a lot of lawyers. Above all, our philosophy is that being a great lawyer is more than getting you a great result. First, our office is centered around you. This means we start by truly listening to you to understand your case and your goals. Further, our team works to provide you a client experience that is as easy and stress-free as possible. Answering your questions and keeping you informed is very important to us. Most importantly, we treat you as a person, not a number. Finally, our goal is to achieve the best possible result for you. If you’re looking for a different kind of lawyer you’ve come to the right place.
Our Case Process
Listen & Understand
We focus on clients as real people. First, we list to understand who you are and what you need. Then we make sure we fully understand the facts of the case.
We explain the law, your rights, and the legal process. Because communication is very important to us, we strive to quickly answer questions and return communication.
Fight for Justice
Simply put: we fight hard for you. In the courtroom, in negotiations, and before a case even is officially opened, we fight for justice for you.
Arson Charges in Dallas
A person can commit arson (Texas Penal Code § 28.02) in a number of different ways:
- (a) if the person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage:
- any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land; or
- any building, habitation, or vehicle:
- knowing that it is within the limits of an incorporated city or town;
- knowing that it is insured against damage or destruction;
- knowing that it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest;
- knowing that it is located on property belonging to another;
- knowing that it has located within it property belonging to another; or
- when the person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.
- (a-1) if the person recklessly starts a fire or causes an explosion while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance and the fire or explosion damages any building, habitation, or vehicle.
- (a-2) if the person intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and in so doing:
- recklessly damages or destroys a building belonging to another; or
- recklessly causes another person to suffer bodily injury or death.
Criminal mischief is a similar crime to arson. For information about criminal mischief, see our criminal mischief page. See our property crimes page for more information about property crimes generally.
Resources and Information
See our criminal defense resource center for more information on fundamental rights in a criminal case, definitions of culpable mental states (intentionally, knowingly, etc), defenses to prosecution, and more.
Arson Offense Penalties
Arson under category (a) is a second-degree felony. As a result, you could face 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. However, it is a first-degree felony if bodily injury or death was suffered because of the offense or the property intended to be damaged or destroyed was a habitation or place of assembly or worship. As a result, you could face 5 – 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Arson under category (a-1) is a state jail felony. As a result, you could face 6 months – 2 years in the state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine. However, it is a third-degree felony if bodily injury or death was suffered because of the offense. As a result, you could face 2 – 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Arson under category (a-2) is a state jail felony. As a result, you could face 6 months – 2 years in the state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.
Defending Arson Charges in Dallas
First and foremost, the prosecutor must prove their allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot rule out each and every possible reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence prevails. As a result, the court must find you not guilty. This means you don’t have to prove that you didn’t do it. You don’t have to prove anything!
The only way the prosecution wins is if the jury believes their story is the only reasonable way it could’ve happened. If they have any reasonable doubts that it actually happened, they must find you not guilty. If they reasonably think it could’ve happened another way, they must find you not guilty. This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system. When implemented by a skilled Dallas arson attorney, it can be a powerful weapon.
Choosing the Right Arson Lawyer in Dallas
Searching for arson lawyers in Dallas can be overwhelming. After all, you are choosing someone who will hold your life, your future, and your family’s future in their hands. You have to be comfortable with them and feel that you can trust the information and advice they give you. Lawyers are supposed to always work in their clients’ best interest. That shouldn’t just be meaningless talk.
First, talk to several lawyers to get a feel for them and their staff. Do they take the time necessary to get to know you, to listen to what’s important to you, and answer your questions? Second, do they show you that you matter to them as a person and not just as a fee? Third, beware of lawyers who put the hard sell on you, who make big promises. No lawyer should ever make a guarantee about a case. Finally, absolutely avoid a lawyer who doesn’t communicate the scope of the work and their fee clearly in a written contract.
What Makes Mike Howard Different
Many attorneys take advantage of their clients’ ignorance of the criminal justice process. We take the opposite approach. A knowledgeable client is a happy client. Therefore, we provide a wealth of information in the way of articles about criminal offenses, blog posts, and videos for free on our website.
Dallas Arson Attorney Mike Howard
Above all, I strive to help my clients through difficult times with compassion and integrity. In Dallas innocent people can get accused, charged, and convicted when they don’t have a Dallas arson attorney fighting for them. I believe in standing up for people facing criminal accusations and helping them navigate all that comes with being thrown into the criminal justice system.
The cornerstone of my law practice is focusing on my clients as individuals. I start by taking the time to understand not just the facts of their case, but who they are and what they need. Because I know the criminal justice system can be intimidating, I explain the process, their rights, and their options. Client communication is extremely important to me, so I make sure my team and I do everything possible to quickly answer questions and return messages.
Willing to Fight
Most importantly, I am willing to fight a case in court. I have a track record of delivering fantastic results at trial. While not every client and case needs to go to trial, it can make a difference. When your Dallas arson attorney has a reputation as a skillful trial lawyer who fights for their clients, however, it makes all the difference in the world.