Arson Laws in California - Penal Code 451 and 452 PC
As you might guess, arson cases are dealt with quite harshly by the Los Angeles County prosecutors and judges. However, in my twenty-five years of handling these cases, I have noticed different levels of seriousness when it comes to arson cases. There is those case where lives are lost, and the person who set them showed a callous disregard for human life; there are those cases where someone is just trying to burn their property, and things get out of hand, and of course, there is everything in between.
In my experience, when the prosecutors are trying to figure out how to deal with an arson case, they will look at several important factors related to the case before they decide what their position will be.
When it comes to an arson case or any severe cases for that matter, I want to make sure I get to them with mitigation information before they make any decisions that can not be taken back. This way, I can say what happens to my client instead of simply being the bearer of bad news. Hard work and preparation must go into every case to achieve the best result possible.
Law Related to Arson Cases
There are many different legal nuances in arson cases that your criminal defense attorney must explore before any decisions are made on your case. Suppose the prosecutors have strong cases against you, and they are insisting that you plead guilty to an arson-related offense. In that case, the next move is to try and convince them that your conduct was an aberration that will never happen again.
If this can be accomplished, then there is a chance that they will agree that down the line, you can take back your arson plea and substitute a different, less serious crime in its place. In California, arson is charged as a felony and separated into intentional arson and reckless arson, governed by California Penal Code Section 451 and 452.
Intentional arson is to willfully and maliciously burn a building or property. The suspect had the intent to burn the property. Reckless arson is to set a fire recklessly. For example, tossing a burning cigarette into a dry bush or firing up the grill near a tree and causing the burning of a property can be considered reckless arson.
Regardless of which category, an arson conviction results in a strike on your criminal record. It is considered a severe offense, and arson is investigated by special law enforcement units that use advanced and sophisticated chemical analyses to determine the origin of the fire and its cause. The investigations can take up to a year, so early intervention by our criminal attorneys is crucial. If you or someone you know is facing arson charges, contact us immediately and help you.
Consult with a Criminal lawyer
To convict you, the prosecution has the burden of proving that you either had the intent to set fire to property or acted in a reckless manner that caused a fire. As your advocate, we refute every piece of evidence presented against you by asserting any applicable defense, showing any ambiguities or inaccuracies, or showing that there is insufficient evidence. Either way, we do everything to get you the best possible results. Your best interest is our top priority.