You will be charged with arson in Denver, Adams and Jefferson County if you set a structure or property on fire. The different types of arson and the severity of the offense depend on different factors, such as how the fire started and what kind of property was destroyed. If you are facing arson charges, below are the descriptions of each of the offenses you may be facing:
First Degree Arson – C.R.S. 18-4-102
First Degree Arson is charged when a person “knowingly” sets fire to or burns a building or occupied structure of another person without permission and the building or structure is damaged or destroyed. This degree of arson is a:
- Class 3 felony, which results in a possible prison sentence up to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. If explosives were used, 1st Degree Arson is considered to be an Extraordinary Risk crime, and you may be sentenced for up to 16 years in prison.
Second Degree Arson – C.R.S. 18-4-103
You will be charged with Second Degree Arson if you “knowingly” set fire to, cause to be burned, or use an explosive device on another person's property without their permission and the property is damaged or destroyed. The difference between Second Degree Arson and First Degree Arson lies in the type of property which is destroyed. 2nd Degree Arson is charged when property (other than a building or occupied structure) is damaged or destroyed. This offense is a:
- felony if the damage is more than $2,000, and is punishable by several years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. If the damage is less than $2,000, it is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail.
Third Degree Arson – C.R.S. 18-4-104
3rd Degree Arson is charged when a person intentionally damages any property using fire or an explosive “with the intent to defraud.” It is a:
- Class 4 felony, and is punishable by up to 6 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Fourth Degree Arson – C.R.S. 18-4-105
4th Degree Arson is charged when a person “knowingly or recklessly” starts a fire, or causes an explosion on his own property or another person's property, and in doing so, places another person in danger of serious bodily injury or death. It is also charged if a building or occupied structure is in danger of damage. This offense is a:
- felony if only property is endangered and the value is $2,000 or more, which results in a possible sentence of years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. If property (and not a person) is endangered and the value is less than $2,000, it is a misdemeanor
No matter the degree of arson you have been charged with, the sooner you hire a knowledgeable lawyer to represent you, the better.
Why You Need the Best Arson Lawyer in Denver
The criminal defense attorneys at our office have handled many arson cases in Denver and throughout Colorado. If you have been charged with arson, it is important to contact an arson lawyer immediately, before speaking to the police. The effects of a criminal conviction on your record are long-lasting. Whether you have been charged with 1st or 4th Degree Arson, the sooner you hire a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to represent you in your case the better. We fight hard against the government to prove your innocence. A criminal defense attorney will begin working on your case immediately after being hired. Failing to do so will result in lost evidence which is critical to your case. Our criminal defense attorneys are often able to get cases dropped or dismissed, or work out a favorable plea agreement. Don't hesitate – work with a knowledgeable lawyer who can fight on your behalf in court.