Arson is a serious crime that can result in severe penalties. If you have been charged with arson, it is important to seek a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A good attorney can help you to understand the charges you face, fight them in court, and protect your rights at every stage of the criminal justice process.
Why is Arson Considered a Felony?
Arson laws vary from state to state but generally define the crime as a willful and malicious act. In some states, the fire must also result in bodily harm or a risk of bodily harm to another person. In others, the fire must result in great bodily injury or cause a substantial loss of property to establish a felony charge.
First Degree (Class A felony): The first degree of arson occurs when someone willfully destroys an occupied structure by burning it with the intent to commit a felony. The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Second Degree (Class B violent felony): The second degree of arson is committed when someone willfully sets a car or building on fire while it is occupied with people present. The minimum sentence is five years in prison.
Third Degree (Class C felony): The third degree of arson is committed when someone willfully burns or uses a flammable substance to damage a vehicle or building. The minimum sentence is one year in prison.
Aggravated Arson: The aggravated arson crime is usually the most serious of all felony crimes and carries extremely harsh penalties. It is punishable from 10 years to life in prison and includes incredibly steep fines and restitution.
Penalties for First Degree, Second Degree and Third Degree Arson differ in severity, depending on the type of property burned and the intent behind the fire. The more damage to property and the higher the level of occupants, the more severe the charges may be.
Moreover, the extent of injuries or property damage can also be a factor in sentencing. Those convicted of arson that causes significant bodily injury or death may be charged with felony murder.
If you have been charged with arson, you need to hire a skilled Denver criminal lawyer as quickly as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to provide legal guidance, advise you about plea agreements, and defend your rights at every stage of the prosecution process.
A skilled Denver arson attorney can also help you to determine the potential impact of a conviction on your future. A good attorney can help you to avoid a conviction altogether, reduce or eliminate the charges that are being brought against you, and keep your record clean.
It can take a while to fully investigate the details of an arson case, so it is crucial to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you realize that you have been charged with arson. An experienced attorney can help you to gather evidence, interview witnesses and other individuals involved in the case, and develop an effective strategy for defending yourself in court.