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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Portland Looks at Recent Fire

A young Oregon girl needs a criminal defense attorney in Portland, having been charged with reckless burning, recklessly endangering another person, and second-degree criminal mischief stemming from a fire at a transient camp. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department alleges that the fire began from a fire pit that had been improperly extinguished. The fire began about 50 yards outside the main camp before consuming approximately four acres of woodland before coming under control.

The families that had been staying at the camp site were charged with trespassing, while the young girl’s mother was charged with improperly supervising a child.

Culpability Explained by a Criminal Defense Attorney in Portland

This unfortunate case highlights the differences in mens rea to certain crimes, how the law deals with each, and how a criminal defense attorney in Portland will seek to provide defense. As it pertains to liability and culpability in a given crime, there are three main categories, including:

  • Intentional
  • Reckless
  • Negligence

Intentional acts have the highest degree of culpability because a person sets out to specifically commit an act, knowing its consequences and completely disregarding them. In the case above, had the little girl intentionally set the fire to burn down the camp or burn down the wooded area, it would have carried much more severe charges including potentially being charged with arson.

This girl, however, was charged with a crime of recklessness: second-degree criminal mischief. Her alleged recklessness stems from the fact that she knew (or should have known) that not completely putting out the fire could have deleterious consequences but she allegedly chose to ignore them. This is still a crime because it shows a wanton disregard for others’ property or safety. Negligence, the lowest culpability, generally is not punished in the criminal courts but is reserved for civil penalties.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney in Portland who understand the different degrees of culpability is extremely important. This attorney will hold the state to a high standard, forcing them to prove all elements of a particular crime. This can be the different between a guilty or not guilty verdict.

Contact a criminal defense attorney in Portland today

Call Edward Kross at 503.352.9360

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