Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

While facing any criminal charges can be concerning for you and your loved ones, there are certain criminal charges that face higher scrutiny both by public perception and by the prosecution. Generally, arson tends to be a highly scrutinized and severely prosecuted crime. Since committing arson involves deliberately setting fire to property, heavy penalties can be given out if you end up convicted of arson.

Generally, the more damage that is done to property from the act of arson, the higher the penalties can be. The damage done to property in an arson case, in addition to the intent, can also determine the type of charge you can end up having – either misdemeanor arson or felony arson. In either case, the possible penalties of an arson charge and conviction can be life-changing and leave a harsh stain on your criminal record and reputation.

If you have been charged with arson, you should take every step possible towards ensuring your rights and freedoms aren’t in jeopardy. An experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer can work to protect you from any serious penalties and get you the best results possible for your case.

Will I Face Jail Time If I’m Convicted of  Colorado Arson?

The unfortunate reality about facing arson charges is you may end up serving jail time if you are found to be guilty of the crime. While prison time is not guaranteed, without an experienced arson defense attorney by your side, it can hurt your chances of avoiding significant prison sentence. However, if you end up convicted of your arson charge, any possible jail sentence is generally determined by how severe your arson charge is.

Generally speaking, there are four types of arson charges. Each individual charge can carry its own set of penalties if you are found guilty. The harshest of the arson charges is first-degree arson. First-degree arson is classified as a class-3 felony charge. A 1st degree arson sentence can bring up to 12 years of prison time, or, in more extreme circumstances where explosives were used in the crime, a maximum of 16-years in jail. A second-degree arson charge, while far less severe than a first-degree arson charge, can bring you up to 6 years in prison if you are found guilty. A third-degree arson charge, much like a second-degree arson charge, can end up in a 6-year jail sentence, at the most. Finally, a fourth-degree arson charge can result in a maximum sentence of 6 years in prison, just like second and third-degree arson.

The circumstances surrounding your alleged crime can determine the potential penalties you may face. It’s best to consult with a tried and tested arson defense lawyer from Denver, Colorado to discuss the possible legal penalties you may end up facing if convicted.

Is My Arson Charge a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

One major factor to consider about an arson charge is what kind of damage did you end up doing? This can end up impacting the type of charge you end up with. Depending on the type of arson you were charged with and the circumstances surrounding your charge, including: whether or not people were in harm’s way and how much property damage you allegedly caused, if the building set on fire was an occupied structure or not, if any people were subject to serious bodily injury; your charge may end up as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Generally, if no one was found to be in harm’s way and the amount of property damage and building or occupied structure damage you caused was less than $100 total, you will probably end up with a lesser misdemeanor charge. However, if others were in harm’s way and the damage you allegedly caused exceeds $100, you may be facing a felony charge. Penalties for misdemeanors are far less severe than felonies, so understanding how the particulars of your case can affect the penalties you may end up facing is an important component of your arson case. Contact a Denver criminal defense attorney today to go over the details of your case and to lay the groundwork for your defense.

What Other Consequences Can I Face?

On top of potential jail time, an arson conviction can be costly to your wallet as well. Depending on the severity of your arson charge, including whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, you may have to pay fines ranging from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For reference, the most you can be fined for a first-degree arson conviction is $750,000.

Even if you have to pay the minimum fine if convicted, depending on the severity of the charge, you may be put into a financial bind. Avoid serious penalties like long prison sentences and steep fines by reaching out to an experienced Denver arson criminal defense attorney today.

How Can I Avoid an Arson Conviction?

Although dealing with an arson charge may seem daunting, especially when you factor in the serious penalties you may be facing if you end up convicted, there are ways to craft a successful defense to get you the best outcome possible.

By working with an experienced arson lawyer in Denver, you can set yourself up for a favorable outcome for your case. Consult with a Denver criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you don’t have to pay the steep price an arson conviction can bring.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.