The crime of arson in Michigan is a property crime which usually is tied to an insurance claim. When a person is charged with arson, the prosecuting attorney will examine the financial situation of the offender including payment history and whether the property is upside down with respect to valuation/loan ratio. Upon being investigated for arson, the fire department and law enforcement agency will attempt to secure a statement from the suspect and request a polygraph examination.

Arson CrimePenalty (Maximum Imprisonment and Fine)
Dwelling20 years imprisonment
Other Real Estate10 years imprisonment
Personal Property Under $20093 days and/or fine $500 or 3 times value of property
Personal Property $200 to $10001 year and/or fine $2,000 or 3 times value of property
Personal Property $1,000 to $10,0005 years and/or fine $10,000.00 or 3 times value of property

Arson investigations will invariably be conducted by the fire department, local law enforcement agency and the insurance company. The reports will focus on factors such as origin of the fire and use of accelerants. The accused may be involved in a civil lawsuit simultaneously while dealing with criminal charges. Proving motive and intent of the suspected party is a primary objective of the prosecuting attorney since the suspect is rarely present when the fire occurs.

A person accused, investigated or charged with arson or insurance fraud should immediately consult with an attorney. Initially, we advise our clients to refrain from making any statements to detectives or insurance adjusters. We conduct our own preliminary inquiry regarding issues of alibi, motive and/or intent. In virtually every criminal case that we handle, we rarely agree to a polygraph which is requested by the police absent a valid legal reason or strategy to do so. Sometimes, we will utilize the services of a private polygraph examiner which remains confidential and may be used if the results are favorable to our position. In addition, a person charged with arson may need to retain an expert witness to determine to examine the property and possible causes of the fire.

Do not talk to the police or take a polygraph until you consult with a lawyer! Contact the ABDO LAW FIRM if you are accused of arson of real estate, automobiles and personal property. Let our attorneys formulate a case strategy. Phone: 586-412-5555