Q: Arson requires malicious intent, I was suicidal and tried to kill myself with fire. Do I have a good defense?
I have previous documented suicide attempts from hospitals. I was experiencing severe psychosis and depression upon auditory hallucinations. I want to plea not guilty by reason of insanity
A: Below is a copy of the arson statute; talk with your attorney about any defenses:
Sec. 28.02. ARSON. (a) 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.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person recklessly starts a fire or causes an explosion while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance and the fire or explosion damages any building, habitation, or vehicle.
(a-2) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and in so doing:
(1) recklessly damages or destroys a building belonging to another; or
(2) recklessly causes another person to suffer bodily injury or death.
(b) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a)(1) that the fire or explosion was a part of the controlled burning of open-space land.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2)(A) that prior to starting the fire or causing the explosion, the actor obtained a permit or other written authorization granted in accordance with a city ordinance, if any, regulating fires and explosions.
(d) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:
(1) bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense; or
(2) the property intended to be damaged or destroyed by the actor was a habitation or a place of assembly or worship.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a-1) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree 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.
(f) An offense under Subsection (a-2) is a state jail felony.
(g) If conduct that constitutes an offense under Subsection (a-1) or that constitutes an offense under Subsection (a-2) also constitutes an offense under another subsection of this section or another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under Subsection (a-1) or Subsection (a-2), under the other subsection of this section, or under the other section of this code.
Kiele Linroth Pace agrees with this answer
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