Every year, tens of thousands of arson fires are reported. The crime of arson occurs when a person deliberately and maliciously sets fire to property. There are a variety of arson crimes, including burning a structure for fraudulent purposes, like to collect money from an insurance policy. Although most acts of arson involve damage to buildings, fires set to forests and fields can also be considered arson. Because a raging fire has the potential to cause serious injury or death, arson can be charged as a felony.
Types of Arson Offenses
The degrees of arson crimes are based on different factors, such as whether the building was occupied at the time of the fire and whether insurance fraud was reason for starting the fire. Arson cases that don’t pose major threats to people can sometimes result in minor punishments, while more serious arson cases can result in harsh prison sentences. This means a person who sets fire to a building with people inside will face more severe charges than a person who sets fire to an abandoned property.
- First Degree Arson: This offense applies to those who deliberately burn another person’s occupied home or an occupied building. This is also known as aggravated arson and requires prosecutors to prove that the fire was set with malicious intent.
- Second Degree Arson: This offense applies to people who deliberately set fire to another person’s unoccupied home or building.
Arson crimes are investigated by elite law enforcement units who use advanced chemical analysis techniques to determine the origin of a fire. It can sometimes take months or years for law enforcement to complete their investigation before charges are doled out. In addition to searching for the origin of a fire, law enforcement also looks into the motivations behind the arson. Arson is commonly used to hide crimes like domestic violence and murder, as well to obtain financial gains.
Arson convictions carry the following punishments, depending on the severity and degree of the crime:
How Do I Defend Against Arson Charges?
If you are facing arson charges, you will need to prove that the fire in question was not started willfully or with malicious intent. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove the fire was not started deliberately. At the Orr Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the criminal justice system and secure a positive outcome in their case. We know how scary it is to be accused of a crime, especially if you have never been in trouble with the law before. Let us use our skills and resources to fight for the justice you deserve.
Contact our Denver criminal defense lawyers to request your free no-cost consultation today.