Arson occurs for various reasons in Minnesota, and in this post we’re going to cover several of the most common ones. We’ll also detail the penalties and what you can do to fight your charges.
Why Minnesotans Start Fires
Young people are the most frequent offenders for arson, with most offenders being between 10 and 25 years old. Knowing that, many of the stated reasons behind arson listed below start to make a bit more sense, because adolescents, teens, and young adults tend not to control their emotions and desires as well.
Some individuals seek thrills through arson. They are searching for attention, recognition, and stimulation, and fire appeals to their desires. In these cases, the offender may photograph, record, or stay to witness the fire. This documentation can serve as evidence for the prosecution in an arson case. A person who sets fires for excitement may be afflicted with pyromania, a rare psychological disorder.
Individuals may set fires due to peer pressure or for a gang initiation, which often involves various acts of vandalism. These fires are mischievously or maliciously set to brush piles, trash cans, vehicles, and abandoned or vacant structures. Sometimes these fires are set to cover up other crimes such as theft or burglary.
If an individual feels angry due to a perceived or real injustice, he or she may be motivated to start a fire based on retaliation. An individual, institution, or group may be targeted with this kind of arson. These types of fires sometimes result after disagreements. It may involve setting fire to possessions, vehicles, or structures. Victims of domestic abuse, jilted lovers, disgruntled employees, or unhappy clients may use fire to exact revenge.
In rare cases, individuals may set fires so they can act as heroes. Security guards, firefighters, and conservation agents have been known to set fires to gain notoriety and praise or even to have work to perform.
We touched on this above, but arson may be used to destroy the evidence of another crime. This is typical in cases of record destruction, burglary, and murder. The offenders believe that all evidence will be destroyed in the fire, but this does not always prove true.
Some individuals intentionally set fires to property, vehicles, or structures to recoup losses. When someone wants to be relieved of financial obligation, eliminate competition, or increase their property value, they may commit arson to earn financial rewards. Fraudulent fires can be classified as either residential or commercial. Both are used to collect insurance payments.
Some people set fires to further a cause, whether social, political, or religious in nature. An individual extremist can set a fire, or a group of extremists can commit arson. This kind of arson is categorized as a riot if it accompanies an incident or event. It is categorized as terrorism if the fire is intended to create confusion, fear, and chaos.
Every year some Minnesotans are charged with arson for a fire that was accidental. If you have been wrongfully charged with arson, an experienced Minnesota criminal attorney can help you fight your charges by offering evidence detailing your lack of intent.
Fighting Arson Charges in Minnesota
If you are convicted of arson in Minnesota, you can face significant fines and incarceration, depending on the extent of the damage. It’s important to consult with an experienced Minnesota arson lawyer as soon as you are charged. Your attorney will work hard to get your charges reduced or dropped. Call today for your free case review.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).