The court system in Lancaster can hand down harsh penalties if you are accused of arson. The act of intentionally starting a fire is often treated very seriously in California, where wildfires can cause tremendous amounts of damage.
You can make sure you handle these serious charges the right way by contacting an arson defense lawyer in Lancaster as soon as you are arrested. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group are here to start working on your case. Let us work on your defense as we take steps to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Reckless Burning vs. Malicious Arson in Lancaster
There are two major charges used to prosecute acts of arson in Lancaster. These charges may apply anytime an individual sets fire to:
- Forested land
- A motor vehicle
- Any kind of structure
- Another person’s possessions
These charges are distinguished by the intention behind the act of arson. Depending upon your situation, you could be charged with:
Reckless burning charges may apply if you are accused of starting a fire for the thrill of it. Individuals who are influenced to start a fire due to a mental illness may also be charged with reckless burning. In fact, this charge can apply to any act of arson that is not motivated by malicious intent.
Malicious arson involves intentionally starting a fire while intending to:
- Damage someone else’s property
- Defraud an insurance company
- Harm or kill another person
Individuals acting out of spite, jealousy, or anger can be charged with malicious arson. Additionally, starting a fire in order to get revenge on someone else is considered an act of malicious arson.
The Penalties for Reckless Burning and Malicious Arson
Now that we have reviewed the differences between reckless burning and malicious arson in Lancaster, we can discuss the penalties for these charges. You should be aware that reckless burning may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. Malicious arson is only prosecuted as a felony.
If convicted of arson, you could face fines of:
- Up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor conviction
- Up to $10,000 for a felony conviction
- Up to $50,000 for some malicious arson convictions
- Up to twice the amount you would receive from an insurance payout
You could also face lengthy periods of incarceration. Depending upon your situation, you could be incarcerated for up to:
- Six months for a misdemeanor conviction
- Three years if you burned your own property and the fire spread to someone else’s property
- Six years if you burned a non-inhabited property
- Eight years if you burned an inhabited building
- Nine years if someone experienced a serious injury in the fire
Additionally, the court system can add up to five years of time onto your prison sentence if:
- You were previously convicted of arson
- The fire damaged multiple structures
- You used tools to accelerate the fire or delay the start of the fire
- More than two people were hurt in the fire
- An emergency worker was hurt in the fire
Take any arson accusation seriously by reaching out to a property crimes lawyer in Lancaster as soon as you are arrested. Getting professional help right away can reduce the odds that you will be convicted of reckless burning or malicious arson.
Defend Yourself from Arson Charges in Lancaster
You can get help standing up to arson charges if you reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Lancaster. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can offer you professional help quickly. Let us get to work for you today. We can:
- Help you during interviews about your charges
- Work to block or discredit evidence against you
- Take steps to get your charges reduced or dismissed
- Fight for you in the courtroom
In many situations, the evidence used to build an arson case is circumstantial. A lawyer can also identify any potential errors in the evidence the prosecution submits. Reducing the evidence against you can increase the odds that your charges will be thrown out, allowing you to move forward with your life.
Get Help from a Lancaster Arson Defense Lawyer Right Now
Get the professional help you need to deal with an arson accusation in Lancaster by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. You can begin building a strong defense right now with our arson defense lawyers in Lancaster. Call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to get more information about your legal options.
Our legal professionals can begin working on your case right now with a FREE initial case evaluation.