It is very easy to start a fire accidentally. Homeless persons often burn down abandoned buildings accidentally by lighting a fire to try to stay warm. People camping in the woods often also light a fire for cooking and warmth that might get out of hand.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to prove that a fire started accidentally. In certain instances, especially if there was a lot of damage, authorities might still try to pin the crime on you. Here are a few of the factors they might consider.
According to Texas’s criminal mischief statutes, starting a fire within town or city limits of an incorporated area may cause a problem for the accused if it leads to damage. There is a strong focus on the intent to cause damage, but in some cases, it can prove difficult to thwart suspicions.
One instance where it might become difficult to disprove intent is when there are benefits associated with the destruction of property by fire. An instance of this is when the individual knows the owner has insured the property against destruction or damage by fire.
When the person who starts the fire owns the property and may receive benefits upon its destruction, disproving arson becomes especially difficult. However, authorities might also scrutinize cases involving property that the individual knows belonged to someone else.
Even if the damage is not intentional, authorities may still press charges for recklessness. For instance, the statute mentions people who do not give enough regard to the potential of a fire to spread and cause injuries or damage before starting it.
Arson is a difficult crime to prove, but if there is a lot of damage, authorities may feel pressured to find someone to blame for the crime. If you handle flammable objects or explosives as part of your work or hobbies, it is a good idea to become familiar with the statutes.