- Forested land
- Someone’s property
- A building or structure
Acting willfully means that the fire is not set by accident. There are several criminal charges used to prosecute willful acts of arson here in California. You can review these charges with the Simmrin Law Group. Learn more by calling us at (310) 997-4688.
Defining an Act of Arson in Los Angeles
The state of California uses a broad definition to refer to acts of arson. Anyone who intentionally starts a fire can face charges for arson. Generally, arson charges are associated with fires at a property, structure, or forest.
There are two primary kinds of arson charges used in California. These charges cover different kinds of arson. Individuals can face charges for:
Penal Code § 451 deals with malicious arson charges. Individuals face this charge if they start a fire maliciously. Individuals act maliciously if they commit arson to:
- Harm someone
- Annoy someone
- Defraud someone
The intent behind the arson determines if someone will face malicious arson charges in court.
Some individuals face reckless burning charges under Penal Code § 452. PC 452 defines reckless burning as fires started through reckless or unreasonable actions. Someone who lights a fire and then leaves without monitoring the blaze could face reckless burning charges in California.
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Arson Charges Can Range in Severity
Some individuals wonder if there are different levels of arson in California. Our state divides malicious arson charges further in some situations. People can face charges for:
Simple arson refers to the acts we discussed previously. Setting fire to a structure, property, or forest with malicious intent is considered simple arson.
Individuals face more severe charges for aggravated arson in some situations. Individuals face aggravated arson charges if they are accused of:
- Setting fire to multiple inhabited structures
- Causing several million dollars of damage due to an act of arson
- Committing arson with a past arson conviction on their record
Both simple and aggravated arson charges require someone to act willfully. Accidentally starting a fire should not lead to an arson conviction. Find out more with the arson lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group. Get help by calling us at (310) 997-4688.
Penalties for Willful Acts of Arson in California
California considers willfully starting a fire to be an act of arson. Arson charges are handled very seriously by our state, especially because wildfires are so destructive. Individuals convicted of arson can end up facing:
- Jail time
- Prison time
- Time on probation
The results of a conviction for arson are not always the same. In fact, there is a lot of variance in these charges. Some reckless burning charges are handed as misdemeanors, for example, which may only lead to a short period of jail time.
However, most arson accusations are treated as felonies. Felonies lead to prison time here in California. Additionally, individuals are considered felons if they are convicted of a felony.
Convicted felons in California face numerous restrictions on their rights. For example, convicted felons cannot own or purchase firearms. You can learn more about the results of an arson conviction with a property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles.
Defenses Against Accusations of Arson in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can step in to help if you are accused of a willful act of arson. Members of our team are prepared to show that:
You Accidentally Started a Fire
You should not face arson charges if you started a fire by accident. You must, generally, act willfully to face an arson conviction in California. Contact your lawyer if a fire started by accident while you were in the area.
You Did Not Intend to Harm, Defraud, or Annoy Anyone
Some arson charges only apply if you acted maliciously. We are here to show that you were not behaving in a malicious way when you started a fire. This could help you secure lessened charges in Los Angeles.
You Were Falsely Accused of a Willful Act of Arson
Sometimes, people make false accusations regarding arson here in California. We are standing by to defend you in this situation. We can even dispute the results of an arson investigation when you contact us.
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Call a Lawyer Today for Help with Willful Acts of Arson Charges
What is a willful act of arson? Starting a fire on purpose is considered a willful act of arson. You can get help if you are accused of arson by contacting the Simmrin Law Group’s arson lawyers in Los Angeles. We are ready to handle your claim right now. Get started with a free consultation. Reach out to us by calling (310) 997-4688 or filling out our online contact form.