The court system can sentence individuals to fines and prison time for willful arson in California. The exact amount of time used for an arson conviction varies based on the circumstances of the crime.
Individuals can get help learning more about an arson charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Our team is here to answer all of your legal questions about arson accusations. Get the information that you want by calling us at
Typical Penalties for a Willful Arson Conviction
The court system in California treats willful (or malicious) arson very seriously. However, some malicious arson charges are treated more seriously than others. Individuals can face up to:
- Three years of prison time for willful arson involving personal property
- Six years of prison time for willful arson involving forest land or an uninhabited structure
- Eight years of prison time for willful arson involving an inhabited structure
- Nine years of prison time for willful arson involving great bodily injuries
All individuals face prison time for a malicious arson conviction. The prison system in California is more strictly regulated than the jail system in our state. Additionally, prisons are often further away. This makes a prison sentence harsher for many people.
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Deliberate Fires Are Considered Arson in California
Starting a fire deliberately in California is considered an act of arson. However, not all acts of arson are “willful arson.” Sometimes, people will face charges for “reckless burning,” instead.
Reckless burning is a less serious arson charge in Los Angeles. Individuals face charges for reckless burning if they start a fire through actions that would not be taken by a reasonable person. For example, someone throwing a burning stick into some dry woods to “see what happens” could face reckless burning charges.
However, reckless burning charges should not apply to fires started by accident. Individuals should only face these charges if they intentionally start a fire.
Penalties for Reckless Burning in Los Angeles
Reckless burning is not punished as harshly as malicious arson in the state of California. However, the court system still uses harsh penalties for individuals accused of reckless burning. A conviction can lead to:
- Up to three years in prison for burning forest land
- Up to four years in prison for burning an inhabited property
- Up to six years in prison for burning that caused a great bodily injury
Note that the above penalties are only used for felony reckless burning charges. Sometimes, reckless burning is treated as a misdemeanor by the court. This is because reckless burning is a “wobbler” in the state of California.
Misdemeanor charges for reckless burning can lead to six months of jail time and fines of up to $1,000. Our team of criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can help with misdemeanor or felony accusations.
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Defenses Against Willful Arson Charges in California
Our team is standing by if you are accused of willful (or malicious) arson here in Los Angeles. We are prepared to handle all of your legal challenges. A strong defense can help you avoid the penalties for willful arson.
Depending upon your situation, we are ready to show that:
- You did not intend to start a fire
- You were not trying to hurt, defraud, or annoy another person
- You were falsely accused of arson
Allow our property crime lawyers in Los Angeles to work to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. We can also focus on getting your charges successfully resolved in court.
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Ask a Lawyer About the Penalties for Willful Arson
The penalties for willful arson can include prison time and fines. We are ready to help you stand up to these accusations starting right now. Just contact the Simmrin Law Group’s arson lawyers in Los Angeles to get help. You can reach us by calling