If you have been accused of arson, you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area, or anywhere in Colorado, arson generally occurs where a person sets fire to, burns, causes to be burned, either the property of another, or his own property with an intent to defraud, usually an insurance provider.
Possible consequences for arson
Where the arson damages or destroys a building or occupied structure it is most commonly charged as a class 3 felony, which carries a possible sentence of: a sentence to the department of corrections of four (4) to twelve (12) years, but as much as twenty-four (24) years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years. A conviction for this type of arson is subject to mandatory minimum sentencing of ten years in the Department of Corrections.
Possible Defenses for arson
Whether a person is charged with arson of a building or occupied structure, arson of his own property for the purpose of seeking insurance proceeds, or some other type of arson, the general approach to defending arson remains the same. First, the statute requires that the person act “knowingly” in setting the fire. Therefore, an accidental fire starting is not generally chargeable as a felony arson offense. A fire that spreads to a building or residence may fall under this category of an accidental fire. Second, in most cases a qualified arson investigator may have to be consulted to oversee the forensic investigation that the Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, or law enforcement investigators may conduct. The area of arson investigation is a very specialized field, and extreme care must be taken in preserving and analyzing evidence of accelerants, spread patterns, areas of origin, and lightning as a possible cause. A defense may then develop that the defendant did not have access or opportunity to set the fire in the manner alleged.
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