Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Arson

Arson

Chapter 28 of the Texas Penal Code sets the regulations and punishments involved with arson, criminal mischief, and other forms of property damage and destruction.

“Arson”, as per § 25.02 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a 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.

An offense under the above criteria is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense; or the property intended to be damaged or destroyed by the actor was a habitation or a place of assembly or worship.

If a 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, it is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense.

If a 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, it is a state jail felony.

Severity of Crime

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Third Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Second Degree FelonY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

First Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 99 years or less than five years with the exception of aggravated sexual assault, which adds a 25-year minimum punishment if the victim is younger than 6, or younger than 14 and the offense contained threats of serious bodily injury or death, or use of a deadly weapon

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000