According to the Florida Statute 806.01, arson is when a person willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages any dwelling or structure where persons are normally present. Even if the dwelling that was damaged was not occupied, the person can still be charged with the crime of arson.
In South Florida, and all of its jurisdictions such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County, a person who engages in any of those activities is guilty of arson in the first degree which is a felony of the first degree.
Many times, arson cases are related to insurance fraud and this can lead to serious criminal charges. A few months ago, a former Wall Street banker committed suicide in court right after hearing the guilty verdict. He was adjudicated guilty for burning down his home to collect insurance because he was no longer able to afford the mortgage on the house.
A criminal defense attorney is crucial in criminal cases such as arson or fraud. You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Florida.