Los Angeles Arson Defense Lawyer

Definition & Elements of the Crime

Arson is a very serious crime that carries stiff penalties. Depending on the nature of the offense, you could either be charged with malicious or reckless arson. According to California Penal Code section 451, a person is guilty of "malicious" arson when they set fire to a structure, forest land or property with the purpose of defrauding, annoying or injuring another person, or with the intent to commit a wrongful act.

According to California Penal Code section 452, a person is guilty of "reckless" arson when they have consciously disregarded the substantial and unjustifiable risk that their actions will set fire to a structure, forest land or property. Both crimes can result in several years in prison. If you have been charged with arson, it is critical that you contact a Los Angeles arson defense lawyer who can explain your rights.

With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners is ready to fight for you. Call now to set up a free consultation!

What are the penalties for arson in California?

California Penal Code section 450-457.1 addresses the crime of arson. According to this statute, it is illegal not only to willfully or maliciously burn a forest, structure, or piece of land, but also to assist another in committing the same act. You may also be charged with arson if you set fire to your own property in an attempt to commit insurance fraud. The penalties will depend on the type of arson offense that you have been charged with.

The penalties for "malicious" arson in California can include:

  • Up to 3 years in prison for setting fire to another's property
  • Up to 6 years in prison for setting fire to forest land or an uninhabited structure
  • Up to 8 years in prison for setting fire to an inhabited structure
  • Up to 9 years in prison for causing serious bodily injury as a result of arson.

The penalties for "reckless" arson in California can include:

  • Up to 1 years in county jail for setting fire to another's property
  • Up to 3 years in prison for setting fire to forest land or an uninhabited structure
  • Up to 4 years in prison for setting fire to an inhabited structure
  • Up to 6 years in prison for causing serious bodily injury as a result of arson.

Aggravating factors may also result in additional penalties. For malicious arson, you could face up to five more years in prison for the burning of multiple structures, causing serious injury to a firefighter or peace officer, having one or more prior arson convictions or causing serious injury to more than one victim. For reckless arson, you could face a three-year enhancement for the same aggravating factors.

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Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners is a criminal defense law firm in Los Angeles that is committed to obtaining successful case results for individuals facing criminal charges. Our legal team is comprised of several highly trained defense attorneys who are well-suited to address all manner of criminal cases, including those involving felony and misdemeanor arson. We are available to provide you with aggressive support against your criminal charges in an effort to bring about a not guilty verdict in your case.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney for a vigorous legal defense.