Defense For Arson Crimes In CaliforniaWhat is arson? It is the burning of someone else’s property, willfully and maliciously. What are arson crimes? These crimes typically involve setting someone’s property, even one’s own property, on fire, which often is done fraudulently to cash in on insurance money. They primarily involve severe damage to structures. However, arson also is the intentional burning of any property, including a vehicle or land. Someone believed to have committed this crime usually is charged with a felony, since starting a fire could lead to the injuries or death of another person or persons. Typically, states use degrees when charging an individual for an arson crime, with less serious arson cases resulting in lesser punishments. Setting fire to a large office building full of people, for example, could result in a more severe punishment, if a defendant is convicted of the crime of arson.

California’s Arson Laws And Penalties

In accordance with Penal Code 451 and Penal Code 452, it is a crime to set fire to any property, building or forest area in the State of California if that fire was set willfully and maliciously and/or recklessly. One also could be charged with arson, based on California’s laws, if he or she sets his or her own real estate or building structure on fire. California’s Penal Codes 451 and 452 also call for an individual to be charged if the fire he or she started caused injury to another person or another person’s property. The Penal Codes 451 and 452 even allow for someone who carelessly tosses a cigarette into a field to be charged with arson if a fire ignites from the action. The punishment for arson charges in California depends on the property that was burned; whether or not an injury occurred; and whether or not the fire was set recklessly and willfully, as defined in California’s Penal Code 451 and Penal Code 452. Someone may be charged with a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense based on the circumstances of the crime. Regardless of the degree of the offense, a California judge frequently orders the defendant to be evaluated by a psychologist before deciding on an appropriate jail or prison term. Potentially, someone may face up to nine years in prison for being specifically in violation of California Penal Code 451, depending on the details of the crime. Furthermore, a person found guilty of arson in California may be fined up to $10,000.

How To Defend Arson

Once charged with the crime in California, it is advisable for that individual to seek advice from a criminal defense attorney familiar with how to defend a defendant in response to Penal Code 451 and Penal Code 452. There are a number of legal defenses a skilled defense lawyer can present in court on behalf of his or her client. For example, one defense commonly used is simply that the fire was an accident and done recklessly or maliciously. Another defense is that sufficient evidence does not exist, thus a conviction should not occur. Furthermore, maybe the defendant was falsely accused or wrongfully arrested. Maybe still, the defendant was mistakenly identified and did not start a fire at all. Sometimes, a fire believed to be arson was not even started by an individual, so no one should be charged. As one can see, there are multiple approaches a defense attorney could use in court to get justice for his or her client involved in an arson case in the State of California.