Passing the Bar ExamPassing the Bar Exam

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Passing the Bar Exam

When I was a child, I loved watching television programs about criminal court cases. I enjoyed watching a skillful criminal attorney find a way to get his client off the hook. During high school, I even thought about becoming a lawyer myself. If you’re preparing to become a criminal attorney, you might be studying for the bar exam. This comprehensive test causes many prospective lawyers to miss a few nights of sleep. One good idea when studying for this exam is to talk with other criminal attorneys. This is a great way to learn firsthand about procedures, laws, and interesting cases. On this blog, you will learn how to jumpstart your criminal law career by studying successfully for the bar exam.


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Four Things You Should Know About The Criminal Charge Of Arson

The technical description of arson is the deliberate act of setting fire to a property. The property can be a building, or even an empty lot of land. Here are some things you may not be aware of as far as the crime of arson is concerned:

It Must Be Intentional

You won't be charged with arson if it's proven that the fire was accidental. For example, you won't be charged with arson if you forgot to turn off the stove in the morning and it caused a fire that spread to the neighbor's house. Note here that the intent, in this context, is the intent to start the fire and not to burn down a property. Therefore, you can be charged with arson if you just wanted to light a "small" fire to scare off a neighbor you have been having problems with, but the fire accidentally spread and burned the neighbor's house. Therefore, if you are facing arson charges for a fire you accidentally started, tell your lawyer about it and let them use it in your defense.

Indirect Fires Also Count

You don't have to set fire directly to a property for your actions to count as arson; indirect fires also count. Take an example where you intended to burn neighbor A's shop, but the fire eventually spread and burned both neighbor A's and neighbor B's shops. In this case, you will be charged with two cases of arson (burning neighbor B's shop also count) even though you never targeted neighbor B's shop directly.

Burning Down Your Property Also Counts

It used to be that you would only be charged with arson if you burned someone else's property. However, this strict definition of arson left out those who intentionally burned down their properties in schemes of insurance fraud. As such, most jurisdictions have expanded their definitions of arson to include those who burn down their own homes. In this case, however, many states will only charge you with arson if you had a fraudulent intention when burning down your home.

There Are Various Classes of Arson

Lastly, you should know that arson charges are not all the same; there are various categories of arson with varying severity. Here are some of the things that determine the severity of an arson charge:

  • Whether someone got injured or killed
  • The cost of the damage
  • Whether the property was occupied
  • The type of property you set fire to
  • Your intentions for burning the property

Therefore, even if your lawyer doesn't succeed in getting your charges dismissed, they may be able to have the charges downgraded to a lesser one depending on the circumstances of your actions. That way, you may be charged with misdemeanor arson or reckless burning, which is relatively easier to defend and attract lower penalties. For more help, contact a criminal defense lawyer like Martinez, Raymond.