Arson Lawyers & Criminal Lawyers
Arson is a severe criminal offence that can involve spending time behind bars in many situations.
According to the Canadian Criminal Code, arson has five different charges. All crimes for arson are judged with indictable offences, and the maximum convictions can range from five years to live behind bars.
Arson – Disregard for Human Life
When a person deliberately or carelessly damages property by setting a fire or causing an explosion, it is committing arson under section 44 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Even though it is a severe crime, the prosecutor must prove that either:
- The person knew or was careless to the risk that someone was in the property when the fire initiates or the explosion took place, or
- the fire or the explosion provoke bodily harm to someone
One of the main problems for Crown Attorneys is trying to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt as it is often challenging to establish an identity in this type of offence. The Prosecutor must demonstrate that you set up the fire or provoke the explosion and no one else.
The Crown Attorney should establish that you knew that damage to the property would result from your actions, and this can also be an issue for the trial to prove that you were reckless.
In this charge, it is unimportant who owns the devastated property.
Arson – Damage to Property
In this type of charge, the Prosecutor needs to prove that you deliberately or carelessly caused devastation to the property by initiating a fire or setting up an explosion.
However, here the Crown Attorney doesn’t need to prove that the damage occurred when a person was in the property. It discusses property not solely owned by the person who caused the destruction.
Under this section, it is irrelevant who owns the property that was damaged by the fire or explosion.
Arson – Own Property
It is essential to understand that you can be accused of arson even when you are not the only owner of the property.
In this charge, the Crown should prove that you deliberately or carelessly destroyed the property by fire or explosion. But, this offence also demands the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fire or explosion endangered the health, safety, or property of someone.
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Arson – For Fraudulent Purpose
This type of offence is when a person destroyed the property by fire or explosion to defraud another person, including an insurance company.
It doesn’t matter if you are the owner or if you share the ownership of the property. The Crown needs to prove the fraudulent purpose of the crime.
This type of arson offence is common, especially when you are the beneficiary under an insurance policy, as the court might presume you had an intention to defraud by starting the fire or causing the explosion.
Arson – Negligence
This type of offence involves any person who owns the property, has partial ownership, or controls the property. Here the prosecutor should prove that it was your negligence that caused the destruction of the property or caused bodily harm to someone.
But, the Crown doesn’t need to prove that you initiate the fire or set up the explosion. As long as your actions were negligent, you can be sentenced.
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Arson is a grave criminal offence. Ensure that you understand your rights and charges against you before you face the Canadian penal system.
If you have been charged with arson, contact us immediately and arrange a free consultation.
For information on other criminal offences related to property, see our post on Defending Mischief charges. You can also contact one of our lawyer Richmond Hill Affordable Criminal Lawyer Plug for Criminal offences.