The crimes of Arson in the First Degree and Arson in the Second Degree are felonies. If convicted, you could face a possible fine and prison sentence. In some circumstances Arson in the First Degree is a Measure 11 Offense carrying a mandatory sentence of 90 months in prison with no possibility of early release. The lesser charge of reckless burning is a Class A misdemeanor, and carries a possible fine of $6250 and up to one year in jail. If you have been charged with one of these crimes, you need a strong and experienced advocate on your side.
I am Steven J. Sherlag, a criminal defense attorney in Portland, Oregon, who vigorously defends people accused of arson, reckless burning and other crimes. I am committed to defending the rights and freedom of my clients at all stages of the legal process. When you choose me to defend you, I will work tenaciously to obtain the best possible outcome.
Aggressively Defending Your Rights And Freedom
To obtain an arson conviction, the prosecutor must show that you intentionally caused the fire or explosion that damaged property or injured a person, or you knowingly engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine, causing the fire or explosion.
I will carefully examine the facts surrounding your case and develop an appropriate defense strategy. If the fire was not the result of meth manufacturing, the issue of intent could prove to be a fatal weakness of the prosecutor’s case. Rest assured that I will attack the prosecution’s case in any way I can, seeking a dismissal of the charge or not guilty verdict whenever possible. As your defense lawyer, I will work tirelessly to build a strong and successful case for you.
Arson Defense Requires Comprehensive Knowledge of the Underlying Forensic Science
There has been a revolution in the understanding of fire cause and investigation over the past ten or so years, and many fire investigators are still operating in the dark ages.
Beyond familiarity with NFPA 921 (the closest thing to accepted protocols in the field) and leading treaties such as Kirk’s Fire Investigations (DeHaan, Icove), I have used consulted with leading fire experts, been asked to present to fire investigators about my experiences during a successful Arson 1 defense, and shredded so-called experts on the stand at trial using evidence that investigators on the scene missed, probing failures to adequately explain fire dynamics, and exposed their lack of knowledge of Oregon State Police promulgated data regarding flash points (the temperature at which certain items ignite). After a successful Arson 1 defense, one opposing expert told me that my examination of his colleague was one that he will “never forget,” and that he’ll become a better investigator for it.
If you are charged with arson or reckless burning, you need a lawyer who will bring the heat to the government’s experts. It’d be an honor to do that for you.