Expert Attorneys in Littleton, Jefferson County, or Colorado, Ready to Represent You
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.
Call us at 303-872-4719 in the greater Denver area or toll free at 888-725-2609 across Colorado for a free initial consultation. You can also contact us online.
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.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in an arson case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures bases on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. There are many other defenses that are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor's case, such as: biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood, or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo line-ups, and inaccurate crime scene / accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced arson lawyer to defend you in an arson case in Littleton, Jefferson County, or across Colorado.
Call us at 303-872-4719 in the greater Denver area or toll free across Colorado at 888-725-2609 for a free initial consultation. You can also contact us online.