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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 111533
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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An unattended fire was started on my cabin property in Park

Customer Question

An unattended fire was started on my cabin property in Park County. It was near a burn pit but outside of the pit in the yard. There was a small fire going about 6 shouts before but water was dumped on the put and all smoke and fire was gone after inspecting it. The police and fire department were called by a neighbor and put out the fire...nearly all the wood was gone and the fire was not spreading. I was told by the sherif that the DA may press charges so I'm trying to determine what they would charge me with...
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Was the fire started in a proper fire pit? What state?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
We have an outdoor fire pit surrounded by rocks and a wind break 2 feet high of cinder blocks. The wood that started on fire was sitting 4 feet away from the fire pit in the yard. There were no fire bans in effect during any of this. The state is Colorado and the County is Park County.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

You will have to go to court on this and prove that you were using a proper fire pit and the wood that ignited was not ignited through your negligence. They are looking to likely charge you with open unattended burning and the penalties can be significant (up to $10,000). So you must get your evidence together to prove that this did not start through any negligence or fault of your own to get the court to find you not guilty if you are charged and I would not go into court on this if you are charged without an attorney.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What would the official charge be? Negligence? Is this a misdemeanor or felony? Is this the only charge possible for them to charge me with? Are there case studies related to this same situation that you can recommend?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
There are no real "case studies" because most of these cases are either paid off with a fine and a deal or dismissed. The charge would be having an open unattended fire and if it is negligent and not intentional it is generally a misdemeanor with a civil fine.

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