Arson

California Arson Law Penal Code 451 and 452 PC

Penalties for Arson

Arson PC 451 and 452 is a very serious crime that carries harsh penalties for convictions.  If you have been arrested or charged with arson, you should contact Damian Siwek, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, at DCS Defense to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.

California Penal Code Section §451 and §452 address the crime of arson. According to this statute, it is illegal not only to “willfully” and “maliciously,” or even “recklessly,” 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 for arson 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

Aggravating factors may result in additional penalties including:

  • Up to 5 additional years in prison for the burning of multiple structures
  • Up to 5 additional years in prison for causing serious injury to a firefighter or peace officer
  • Up to 5 additional years in prison if you possess one or more prior arson convictions

Legal Defenses

Because both intentional and so-called “reckless” acts can result in felony arson charges, it is important to consult with a Los Angeles arson lawyer immediately if you are the subject of an accusation. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer knows the most effective ways to get your arson charges reduced or even dismissed.

Some legal defenses that can be useful in California arson cases include taking the position that:

  • The fire was set by accident,
  • There is insufficient evidence to prove arson,
  • The accusations are deliberately false, and/or
  • Someone else actually set the fire.

Los Angeles Arson Lawyer

For aggressive and effective representation against arson charges, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.