Arson Penalties in California
Arson is considered a serious offense because it has the potential to endanger
others. Penalties for arson depend on several factors, including: (1)
the type of property or land involved, (2) whether another person was
injured, and (3) whether the fire was set intentionally or recklessly.
PC 451 details the following penalties for arson.
- Arson causing great bodily injury is a felony punishable by five, seven,
or nine years in state prison.
- Arson of an inhabited structure or property is a felony punishable by three,
five, or eight years in state prison.
- Arson of a structure or forest land is a felony punishable by two, four,
or six years in state prison.
- Arson of another's property is a felony punishable by 16, two, or three
years in state prison.
Individuals charged with arson may also face enhancements if they have
been convicted of arson or an arson-related offense in the past, if emergency
personnel were injured, if more than one victim was injured, if multiple
structures were burned, and if a device was used to accelerate the fire
or delay ignition.
PC 452 is an arson-related offense that involves unlawfully causing a fire
by reckless behavior. To be convicted of this offense, prosecutors must
prove that a structure, forest land, or property was burned because an
individual acted recklessly. An example of reckless burning may include
throwing a cigarette into dry brush or flammable materials. Unlawfully
causing a fire is typically a misdemeanor unless someone was injured or
the property burned was an inhabited structure or forest land.
Work with Award-Winning Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been charged for arson or unlawfully burning
property, contacting an experienced lawyer should be your first priority.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP our Los Angeles criminal defense
lawyers are prepared to immediately review your case and explain how we can help.
To request a free legal consultation, call 800-462-7160. We are available 24/7.