Colorado Criminal Arson Defense Lawyer
by The Colorado Arson Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
Inroduction – Arson is one of the most serious crimes that can charged under the property crimes category. If you are charged with arson in Colorado, you must not leave the outcome of your case to chance.
Insurance companies work closely with law enforcement and are well funded with extensive resources that are used in these types of cases. If you have been charged with arson, it is important that you obtain experienced and competent representation from a law firm capable of combating these resources and of conducting its own defense based proactive investigation.
Mounting a strong defense against arson charges
The Colorado criminal defense law firm of H. Michael Steinberg has access to a variety of fire experts. These experts can determine whether accelerants were used to start the fire and whether those same substances appear in the defendant’s home or car.
Careful and thorough Interviews of witnesses about the first signs of the fire must be performed as well as an analysis of insurance reports. All must be done on the structure to determine its condition.
Arson charges and Expert Witnesses
We use the testimony of experts and witnesses to demonstrate that our client could not have set the fire or that the fire was accidental. Because the evidence in fire cases is usually circumstantial, these cases are often not as strong as the prosecution would like. Creativity and knowledge of the law in arson defense is critical.
With you at all stages of your case
Our law firm is committed to providing a strong defense at every stage of the proceedings against you.
If you have been charged with arson, do not leave the outcome of your case to chance. Insurance companies and law enforcement have extensive resources that they use in these types of cases. If you have been charged with arson, it is important that you obtain representation from a law firm able to muster similar resources and conduct its own investigation.
Mounting a strong defense against arson charges
At Denner Pellegrino, L.L.P., our lawyers have access to a variety of fire experts. They can determine whether accelerants were used to start the fire and whether those same substances appear in the defendant’s home or car. They interview witnesses about the first signs of the fire. They analyze insurance reports on the structure before the fire to determine its condition.
If you are being investigated for or have been charged with arson, contact an experienced and resourceful attorney right away. Denner Pellegrino lawyers have a long record of accomplishment defending clients charged with arson. From our offices in Boston and Springfield, we combine the extensive resources of our firm with the experience of our lawyers to get results for clients.
Common Arson Situations
Setting fire to a house
Setting fire to a church or synagogue
Trying to set fire to a house or church or synagogue
Setting fire to woods
Negligent use of fire, such as a campfire or backyard barbecue getting out of control
Burning with intent to commit fire insurance fraud
Burning with intent to disguise a crime
Preventing access to fire by firefighting personnel
False alarms that result in injury
We use the testimony of experts and witnesses to demonstrate that our client could not have set the fire or that the fire was accidental. Because the evidence in fire cases is usually circumstantial, these cases are often not as strong as the prosecution would like. We are known for our creativity and knowledge of the law in arson defense.
With you at all stages of your case:
Our law firm is committed to providing a strong defense at every stage of the proceedings against you. We represent clients from initial investigation to post-conviction appeals and at every other step, including:
Grand jury indictment
Pre-sentencing investigation and reports
Post-conviction appeals, writs and motions
Jail or prison
How Do I Fight a Colorado Arson Charge?
Because the punishment and penalties are so severe for an arson conviction, it is critical to secure legal representation from a skilled Colorado criminal defense lawyer. He or she understands the many defenses that may cause arson charges to be reduced or even dismissed.
The following are examples of some of the most common defenses that a Colorado arson defense attorney could present on your behalf.
The fire was an accident
If you can prove that the fire was the result of an accident, you can’t be convicted of this charge. Perhaps you simply forgot to turn off the iron. Perhaps one of your candles “sparked” onto a piece of nearby paper that became ignited.
There is insufficient evidence
Even investigators admit that most arson cases are built on circumstantial evidence. “Circumstantial evidence” indirectly proves a fact, whereas direct evidence directly proves the fact. Some guess work is necessarily involved with circumstantial evidence and, as a result, it is not as solid as direct evidence.
With respect to a Colorado arson case, there are usually few, if any, witnesses, and fire-starting devices frequently are destroyed in the fire. Unless something can directly tie you to the fire, the prosecutor will have difficulty convicting you of these offenses.
Falsely accused and wrongfully arrested
There are a number of reasons why an individual might falsely accuse you of arson or reckless burning. Perhaps he/she accidentally started the fire and was afraid to suffer the consequences. Perhaps he/she intentionally started the fire and was trying to cover up his/her own involvement. Perhaps he/she was trying to collect reward money…The possibilities are endless.
Maybe someone identified an individual that fit your description. Maybe someone saw a car that looked like yours leaving the scene. Maybe some of your belongings were found in the fire… There are a number of reasons why you may have been mistakenly identified as the individual who set the fire…it’s just a matter of persuading the judge and/or jury that you have a good alibi.
While it’s true that arson is often committed to hide another crime, as an act of domestic violence, for financial gain, or for a host of other reasons…the bottom line is that this isn’t always the case.
Your Colorado arson defense attorney knows how to cross-examine the prosecution’s expert witnesses, to effectively challenge the charge that you (1) intentionally (or even recklessly) set a fire, or (2) were even responsible for the incident.
In addition, criminal defense lawyers typically rely on their own expert witnesses who know how to explain to a judge/jury that typical “arson indicators” such as crazed glass, melted copper wiring, melted steel, and uneven burn patterns aren’t always a reliable way to conclude that arson was involved.
If you have been charged with or are being investigated for arson, consult with an attorney who has a reputation for success and an ability to handle the most complex or high profile case. Contact H. Michael Steinberg – The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm at 303-543-4433 – 24 -7 pager or personal cell 720-220-2277.
H Michael is available to respond to emergencies at all times, including evenings and weekends.
The Law – Arson Crimes in Colorado
18-4-102. First degree arson
(1) A person who knowingly sets fire to, burns, causes to be burned, or by the use of any explosive damages or destroys, or causes to be damaged or destroyed, any building or occupied structure of another without his consent commits first degree arson.
(2) First degree arson is a class 3 felony.
(3) A defendant convicted of committing first degree arson by the use of any explosive shall be sentenced by the court in accordance with the provisions of section 18-1.3-406.
18-4-103. Second degree arson
(1) A person who knowingly sets fire to, burns, causes to be burned, or by the use of any explosive damages or destroys, or causes to be damaged or destroyed, any property of another without his consent, other than a building or occupied structure, commits second degree arson.
(2) Second degree arson is a class 4 felony, if the damage is one hundred dollars or more.
(3) Second degree arson is a class 2 misdemeanor, if the damage is less than one hundred dollars.
18-4-104. Third degree arson
(1) A person who, by means of fire or explosives, intentionally damages any property with intent to defraud commits third degree arson.
(2) Third degree arson is a class 4 felony
18-4-105. Fourth degree arson
(1) A person who knowingly or recklessly starts or maintains a fire or causes an explosion, on his own property or that of another, and by so doing places another in danger of death or serious bodily injury or places any building or occupied structure of another in danger of damage commits fourth degree arson.
(2) Fourth degree arson is a class 4 felony if a person is thus endangered.
(3) Fourth degree arson is a class 2 misdemeanor if only property is thus endangered and the value of the property is one hundred dollars or more.
(4) Fourth degree arson is a class 3 misdemeanor if only property is thus endangered and the value of the property is less than one hundred dollars.
(5) It shall not be an arson offense pursuant to this section if:
(a) A person starts and maintains a fire as a controlled agricultural burn in a reasonably cautious manner; and
(b) No person suffers any of the following as a result of the fire:
(I) Bodily injury;
(II) Serious bodily injury; or
(6) For purposes of this section, “controlled agricultural burn” means a technique used in farming to clear the land of any existing crop residue, kill weeds and weed seeds, or reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of a future fire.