When someone intentionally damages the personal or real property of another without the owner’s consent, their own property, or property with the consent of the owner in order to defraud an insurance company by use of fire or an explosive, then the person could be charged with arson in Indiana. There are multiple degrees of the crime as well as defenses that could be used in court.
In most situations, arson is considered a felony. This is because there is a significant risk of an injury to another person or the death of another person. Criminal mischief or destruction of property could be considered if it is argued that nobody was hurt or any property damage was minimal. When someone sets fire to their own property to get an insurance settlement, then this could be a fraud charge on top of an arson charge.
There are a few defenses that could be used in court if someone is charged with arson. It can sometimes take months for the final pieces of evidence to be collected and examined as interviews are typically conducted along with an investigation by the fire marshal. In order to prosecute someone for arson, there needs to be clear proof that there was an intent to cause damage. A defense that could be used is that the fire started accidentally. Another defense is that the person set fire to the property on their own accord without looking to defraud an insurance company.
Setting fire to one’s property whether it be someone else’s or their own is considered arson if the intent is to cause some type of damage. Because there are varying degrees of arson, the possible punishments for the crime tend to vary as well.