Colorado Springs Felony Arson Defense Attorney
Arson involves the burning of property illegally. Colorado law recognizes four different types, or "degrees," of arson, depending on what sort of property is burned, what means are used to burn it, and whether others' lives are endangered by the burning.
First-degree arson occurs when a person knowingly burns another person's building or structure without that person's permission, and the building or structure is occupied. The types of buildings or structures that are covered by Colorado's first-degree arson law range from houses to apartment buildings to barns and even doghouses, as long as they belong to someone other than the person who set fire to them without permission and they are occupied by a person or animal when the fire occurs.
First-degree arson is a Class 3 felony in Colorado, with a maximum prison sentence of up to 12 years for those who are convicted of this type of felony. If the fire was started with explosives, the prison sentence may be longer, and heavier fines or other penalties may be imposed.
Second-degree arson occurs under Colorado law when someone burns someone else's property without that person's consent, and the property is anything other than an occupied building or structure. Burning someone's personal property without permission falls under this law.
Second-degree arson is a Class 4 felony if the property burned was worth more than $100.00, while a Class 2 misdemeanor if the property was worth less than $100.00. Since the difference between the penalties for Class 4 felonies and Class 2 misdemeanors is substantial, establishing the value of any property burned can become a key issue in a second-degree arson defense.
Third-degree arson occurs when a person intentionally uses fire or explosives to damage property with an intent to defraud. This charge often covers cases in which a person is accused of burning property to get insurance money. A person convicted of third-degree arson in Colorado faces the penalties imposed for all Class 4 felonies.
Finally, fourth-degree arson occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly creates a fire or explosion that puts another person's life or property in danger. If a person is put in danger, fourth-degree arson is a Class 4 felony; if only property is endangered, fourth-degree arson is a Class 2 misdemeanor if the property is worth more than $100.00 and a Class 3 misdemeanor if the property is worth less than $100.00.
Controlled agricultural fires are specifically exempted from the fourth-degree arson law, as are fires that do not cause injury or death.
Felony arson is a serious charge. Not only do all types of felony arson carry severe penalties for a conviction, but a felony arson conviction can also greatly affect your ability to find or keep affordable property, auto, or other types of insurance in the future. Please don't hesitate to contact a Colorado Springs felony arson lawyer at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C by calling (719) 475-2555. As a former prosecutor, attorney Timothy Bussey understands the process prosecutors use when deciding to file a felony arson charge, and his experience as an aggressive Colorado Springs felony arson defense lawyer can provide invaluable help as you fight to defend your rights and seek the best possible outcome in your case.