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© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. 

Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

216 N Bryant St

Pleasanton, Texas 78064

FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR

PERSONALIZED ATTENTION TO YOUR CASE

NO HOURLY RATES, ALWAYS A FLAT FEE

CLIENT CENTERED APPROACH TO YOUR CASE

BOARD CERTIFIED IN CRIMINAL LAW 

OVER A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN CRIMINAL LAW

WHY HIRE THORNTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE?

Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.

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Arson Attorney in San Antonio, Texas

Arson

Texas Penal Code § 28.02 - Arson

Less than .008% of lawyers are Board Certified in Criminal Law. Click below to find out what that means and why hiring a Board Certified attorney is the only was to make sure you are getting a lawyer with the experience to handle your case.

Arson Criminal Defense Attorney in San Antonio, Texas


Arson is a serious crime in Texas that is defined and punished under Texas Penal Code § 28.02. This statute states that a person commits arson if they intentionally or knowingly start a fire, whether on their own property or someone else's, with the intent to destroy or damage any building, habitation, or vehicle.


Texas Penal Code § 28.02(a)(2) lists several different ways in which a person can commit arson in Texas.


A person commits an offense if the person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage:

(1) any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land; or

(2) any building, habitation, or vehicle:

(A) knowing that it is within the limits of an incorporated city or town;

(B) knowing that it is insured against damage or destruction;

(C) knowing that it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest;

(D) knowing that it is located on property belonging to another;

(E) knowing that it has located within it property belonging to another; or

(F) when the person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.


Difficulties in Arson Investigations


One difficulty that fire investigators often face is determining the cause of the fire. While most fires are accidental in nature, some are intentionally set. Determining whether a fire was intentionally set or not requires careful examination of the scene and the surrounding circumstances. Fire investigators may look for evidence of an accelerant, such as gasoline or other flammable liquid, that may have been used to start the fire. They may also look for evidence of tampering with the electrical system or other indicators that the fire was not accidental.


However, even if fire investigators are able to determine that the fire was intentionally set, they may still face challenges in identifying the person or persons responsible. Arsonists often take steps to cover their tracks and make it difficult to link them to the crime. This can make it difficult for investigators to gather enough evidence to charge someone with arson.


Once an arson case has been referred to a prosecutor, they may face additional challenges in securing a conviction. In order to secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally or knowingly set the fire with the intent to destroy or damage a building, habitation, or vehicle. This can be difficult to do, especially if the arsonist took steps to cover their tracks and there is limited physical evidence linking them to the crime.


Additionally, even if the prosecutor is able to present sufficient evidence to establish the defendant's guilt, the defendant may still be able to mount a successful defense by presenting evidence or testimony that suggests they did not have the required intent to commit the crime.


Overall, investigating and prosecuting arson cases can be challenging due to the difficulties in determining the cause of the fire, identifying the responsible party, and proving the required intent to commit the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.


Defenses to Arson in Texas


There are several potential defenses that a person charged with arson in Texas may raise to contest the charges against them. Some possible defenses include:


  1. Lack of intent: To be convicted of arson in Texas, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly set the fire with the intent to destroy or damage a building, habitation, or vehicle. If the defendant can show that they did not have this specific intent, they may be able to successfully defend against the charges.

  2. Accident: If the defendant can show that the fire was started by accident, rather than being intentionally set, they may be able to avoid conviction for arson.

  3. Alibi: If the defendant can provide evidence that they were not present at the time and place the fire was set, they may be able to establish an alibi and defend against the charges.

  4. Mistaken identity: If the defendant can present evidence that they were not the person who set the fire, they may be able to contest the charges on the grounds of mistaken identity.

  5. Insufficient evidence: If the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant may be able to challenge the charges and seek an acquittal.


It is important to note that the specific defenses available in an arson case will depend on the circumstances of the case and the evidence available to the defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help a defendant evaluate their options and determine the most effective defense strategy in their particular case.


Expert Witnesses for Arson in Texas


An arson investigator defense witness can be a valuable asset when defending against arson charges in Texas. These experts can provide valuable insight and testimony about the cause of a fire, the evidence collected, and the investigation process. They can also offer opinions about whether the fire was accidental or intentionally set.


Using an arson investigator defense witness can help to create reasonable doubt about the prosecution's case and undermine their allegations of arson. This can be particularly important if the prosecution's case relies heavily on circumstantial evidence or if the cause of the fire is not clear.


An arson investigator defense witness can also help to identify any weaknesses or flaws in the prosecution's case and highlight any inconsistencies in their evidence. They can provide valuable testimony about the limitations of fire investigation techniques and how they may have affected the evidence in the case.


Overall, using an arson investigator defense witness can be a powerful tool when defending against arson charges in Texas. These experts can provide valuable testimony and insights that can help to create reasonable doubt and ultimately achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

Punishment Ranges

Level of Offense

Potential Incarceration

Potential Fine

First-degree Felony

Second-degree Felony

Third-degree Felony

State Jail Felony

Class A Misdemeanor

Class B Misdemeanor

2 - 10 years in prison

180 days - 2 years in jail

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to 180 days in jail

2 - 20 years in prison

5 - 99 years in prison

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $4,000

Up to $2,000

Punishment for Arson in Texas


In Texas, the punishment for arson depends on the circumstances of the crime and the value of the property that was damaged or destroyed. Arson is generally punishable as a felony in Texas.


Arson is generally a second degree felony if that damage was cause to any building, habitation, or vehicle, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


If if it is shown on the trial of the offense that bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense or that the property intended to be damaged or destroyed by the actor was a habitation or a place of assembly or worship, it is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


If arson caused damage to vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land, it is a state jail felony, which is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.


It's important to note that these are the general punishments for arson in Texas. The actual punishment imposed may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the defendant's criminal history.


San Antonio Arson Attorney Brad Thornton


If you have been arrested for arson in San Antonio or South Texas, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Board-certified criminal defense attorney Brad Thornton is an experienced attorney who can provide the legal guidance and representation you need.


As a former chief prosecutor, Brad Thornton has a unique understanding of how the prosecution builds its case and what it takes to defend against arson charges. He has a wealth of experience in criminal law and has successfully handled a wide range of criminal charges, including arson.


If you have been arrested for arson, it is essential to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. Brad Thornton can provide a free consultation to help you understand your legal options and the potential outcomes of your case. He will work with you to develop a strong defense strategy and fight to protect your rights and freedoms.


Don't hesitate to call Brad Thornton for a free consultation if you have been arrested for arson in San Antonio or South Texas. With his extensive experience and expertise, he can provide the legal guidance and representation you need to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. So, it is a good idea to call him for a free consultation.

FORMER PROSECUTOR

San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Thornton has spent years in court rooms fighting for justice. As a prosecutor, Brad was a leader on cases ranging from marijuana to murder from arrest to appeal. Who better to fight for your rights than someone who knows the "other side" and has tried the toughest of cases out there. Put his experience and knowledge to work for you.  

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Daryl M.

Elmendorf, Texas

If you need a criminal lawyer, Brad Thornton is an excellent choice. He is intelligent, trustworthy, and highly professional, with an amazing understanding of the law.

 

Choosing the right lawyer can shape the rest of your life, so make sure to make the right decision and choose Brad Thornton.

Brian F. 

San Antonio, Texas

I have had the opportunity to know Brad both personally and professionally for a while now. As a fellow attorney, I am consistently impressed by his passion and innovative approach to legal issues. He is exceptionally intelligent and is always willing to go above and beyond for his clients. When I refer clients to Brad, I have full confidence that they will receive top-quality representation.

Stephanie S.

San Antonio, Texas

We recently faced a stressful family matter and turned to Brad for legal guidance. He was extremely compassionate and helped us understand our options and the legal process in an easy-to-follow way. We are thrilled with the outcome of our case and are grateful to Brad for his help. Thank you!

Garry T.

San Antonio, Texas

I cannot emphasize enough how understanding and compassionate Brad Thornton was during a difficult situation. He helped us navigate the legal aspects of our case and provided us with a clear understanding of our options. I highly recommend Brad Thornton for anyone in need of legal representation.

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