How Do I Defend Against an Arson Case?
Arson is defined as the deliberate act of setting fire to property. It is a criminal act and generally a felony. However, some state laws have different degrees of severity. In Colorado, arson is defined using degrees of offense. Additionally, some arson charges in Colorado are classified as misdemeanors. Punishment for arson varies based on the degree of criminal classification and the type and value of the property involved. Contact a Denver arson attorney right away to help you deal with arson charges and construct a defense.
Based on the Colorado Crime Classification Guide, arson and its subsequent degrees of offense are as follows:
- First-degree arson is a class 3 felony. It is defined as someone who uses fire or explosives to knowingly damage or destroy a building or occupied structure owned by someone else.
- Second-degree arson is a class 4 felony. It is defined as someone who uses fire or explosives to knowingly damage or destroy someone else’s unoccupied property valued at $100 or more.
- Third-degree arson is a class 4 felony. It is defined as someone who uses fire or explosives to damage any property to commit fraud intentionally and purposefully.
- Fourth-degree arson is a class 4 felony. It is defined as someone who knowingly or recklessly starts or maintains a fire or causes an explosion on any property that places another in danger or causes injury or death.
Arson has many other degrees and classifications throughout the Colorado Crime Classification Guide. While not all charges are considered felonies, arson in any form or application is a serious crime. Arson charges may result in severe penalties such as prison time, fines, and substantial restitution. Therefore, it is advisable to form a defense and obtain legal help when charged with or suspected of arson in Colorado.
Defending Arson Charges
Hire an Attorney
Hiring a defense attorney is the first step when charged with or suspected of arson. An experienced lawyer can help you build your defense and offer valuable advice throughout the process. When charged with or suspected of arson, you must remain actively involved in gathering evidence and establishing key defense factors.
A professional fire investigator can establish the cause of the fire and help determine if the fire was started due to arson. Insurance companies and law enforcement will conduct fire investigations. Therefore, it is imperative to hire your own investigator and compare it with the investigations completed by insurance companies or the state.
Show Lack of Motive & Establish an Alibi
Another critical factor when developing a defense against arson is proving a lack of motive and establishing an alibi. Insurance money is not always a strong motive in every arson case. Also, a provable, reliable alibi will strengthen an arson defense.
Be Able to Prove Who or What Started the Fire
Gathering evidence to prove who or what started the fire is crucial when defending against an arson charge. Witnesses and information discovered by the fire investigators can help establish an alternate theory and provide proof when determining who or what started a fire.
Denver Arson Attorney
Defending against an arson charge is a stressful and emotional process. Establishing a defense is time-sensitive, and it’s critical to begin immediately. If you are being accused of arson in Denver and need the help of arson defense lawyers, The Juba Law Office is here to help. Contact us today online or by calling 303.974.1080.