With the fires raging in Colorado Springs (El Paso County), Fort Collins (Larimer County) and now Boulder (Boulder County), I can’t help but think some of these fires may be caused by Arson, C.R.S. 18-4-101. Arson in Colorado generally involves the knowing or reckless starting of a fire.
Large fires in Colorado’s past have been the result of Arson. The Hayman fire from 2002 was Colorado’s largest fire, and it was the result of Arson. A forestry employee by the name of Terry Barton was convicted of starting those fires and was ordered to pay millions in restitution.
Restitution in Colorado involves a repayment of expenses to persons injured financially from the conduct of the convicted person. It can be comprised of therapy expenses, medical costs, property repair or replacement costs, or stolen funds reimbursement. Courts are generally liberal in ordering restitution for losses even remotely the result of criminal conduct.
Arson can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type of property burned. It is also important to remember that a misdemeanor fire can expand and end up burning property which is a felony. Fire is unpredictable and the person starting it can end up with huge restitution obligations running into the millions of dollars. Imagine a small grass or yard leaf fire which gets out of hand and burns down someone’s house. Even with insurance in effect, the full restitution will be due. A simple campground fire which sparks and destroys a forest and then homes within the forest, can result in tens of millions of dollars. So, be careful out there.
If you have been charged with any type of fire setting or starting a fire, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call the experienced Arson attorneys at the O’Malley Law Office, at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.