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Arson Criminal Charges Explained by Denver's Top Criminal Lawyer

July 5, 2017

According to Denver criminal lawyer John L. Buckley, arson is one of the most serious property crimes that you can be charged with in the state of Colorado. If you have been accused of committing this crime, it’s important that you understand the charges against you. Here’s what you need to know about arson:

What is Arson?

You will be charged with arson if you intentionally or recklessly set fire or use explosives to destroy your own property or the property of another person without that person’s consent.
You can be charged with arson in the first, second, third, or fourth degree in the state of Colorado. The charges that you face will depend on the type of property involved in the crime, the value of the damage, and whether you set the fire recklessly or did it intentionally. First degree arson is the most serious arson crime, while fourth degree arson is the least serious.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Arson can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on a number of factors, including whether the property was occupied or not, your intent, whether you endangered anyone by committing this crime, and the amount of damage caused by the fire.

Defenses to Arson

There are a number of defense strategies that can be used to fight arson charges. Your attorney may be able to prove that the fire should not be considered arson because it was accidental. An attorney may also use witnesses or other evidence to prove that you are a victim of mistaken identification.
In some cases, your attorney will try to poke holes in the prosecution’s theory as to why you committed arson. For instance, let’s say you are charged with third degree arson because law enforcement believes you committed arson with the intent to defraud your insurance company. A criminal defense attorney may be able to disprove the theory that you had the intent to defraud. As a result, your charges may be dropped or reduced. Learn more about the defense of a criminal arson case.
Some defense strategies focus solely on getting the charges reduced instead of completely dropped. For example, second degree arson is a felony if the property damage is valued at over $100. If you have been charged with second degree arson and there is a lot of evidence that proves you did start the fire, your attorney may focus on proving that the value of the damage is less than $100. If he can prove this, your charge will be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, which means you will face less serious penalties.
If you have been accused of arson, contact the Law Office of John Buckley right away. Our team will immediately begin to investigate your case and devise an appropriate defense strategy that will help us reach the best possible outcome. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case