LAPD Investigating Potential Link Between South LA Fires

Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are currently looking into a possible connection between two South LA fires.

Both fires occurred on Thursday. The first occurred just before 1:30am at the intersection of West 60th Street and South Western Avenue. Firefighters responded to a 911 call and found two cars on fire. The 911 caller said two men were fleeing the area. The fire was put out quickly, with no injuries reported.

The second fire was started relatively close to the location of the first fire, in some trees near the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Western Avenue. This fire was put out quickly as well, with no injuries.

Police are considering a possible link between the two fires, due to their close proximity and timing. They are also looking for suspects that may have started the fires.

Arson Charges in Los Angeles, CA

California Penal Code § 451 and § 452 define the crime of arson and set forth penalties for those convicted of this offense. Under these laws, it is illegal for a person to maliciously or recklessly set fire to a building, forest land or property. Depending on the type of property and whether anyone was injured in the fire, a person may face misdemeanor or felony charges and penalties ranging from probation and time in county jail all the way to life in prison.

In the above situation, a person arrested for these fires may face felony charges under California Penal Code § 451, which states:

A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property.

Sub-section (d) may apply to these particular fires:

Arson of property is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years.

If the suspects are located and charged with felony arson under § 451, the prosecutor will have the task of proving that the fires were started "willfully" and "maliciously." In this case, maliciously describes one's intent to annoy, defraud or injure another person, or simply to commit a wrongful act. Although no one was injured in these two fires, a defendant facing these charges could face up to six years in prison based on two counts of felony arson.

Arson charges can be extremely serious and should be addressed immediately by a skilled attorney. If you have discovered that you are under investigation for arson or have been arrested for allegedly setting a fire, you need to protect your interests. You may wish to cooperate with law enforcement because you believe you did nothing wrong, or perhaps you are unsure of what to do or say to avoid self-incrimination. Early involvement of a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may be the precise answer for which you have been looking.

At Lessem & Newstat, our attorneys have more than 50 years of combined legal experience. We have handled more than 200 jury trials and have secured hundreds of case dismissals on behalf of our clients. An aggressive and precise defense is our primary goal, and we know how to utilize our experience and resources to secure the best possible result for every client we represent. If you want to challenge arson charges or allegations related to any type of criminal offense, please do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles law offices for a confidential consultation. You have rights, and we are here to protect them to the fullest extent.