Reckless burning is a “wobbler” in the state of California. This means that some people face misdemeanor charges for reckless burning. Other individuals face felony accusations. Find out more about this charge with the Simmrin Law Group by calling us at
How the State of California Defines Reckless Burning
The state of California uses Penal Code § 452 to define reckless burning in our area. Reckless burning can involve setting fire to forest land, property, or a structure. Individuals have to act in a reckless way to face PC 452 charges.
Reckless behavior occurs if someone:
- Knows that their actions could cause a fire
- Ignores the knowledge that their actions are risky AND
- Acts in a way that a reasonable person would not act
Note that individuals who start a fire by accident are not considered “reckless” by the state. For example, if you leave your house without turning off the stove you did not act “recklessly.” However, if you toss a burning brand into a pile of brush, you could face charges for reckless burning.
Punishments for Reckless Burning in Los Angeles
Individuals charged under PC 452 can face numerous legal penalties. As we mentioned, reckless burning is considered a wobbler. Individuals convicted of misdemeanor reckless burning can face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
However, misdemeanor charges are not always used with reckless burning accusations. Many people face felony charges, instead. Felony convictions do not always lead to the same penalties. People may face fines and:
- Up to three years in prison for reckless burning involving forest land or an uninhabited structure
- Up to four years in prison for reckless burning involving an inhabited structure
- Up to six years in prison for reckless burning causing great bodily injury
You can get legal assistance dealing with misdemeanor or felony charges for reckless burning. Just reach out to an arson lawyer in Los Angeles. Contact our team at the Simmrin Law Group now by calling us at
Other Charges for Arson in California
Thus far, we have discussed the charges for reckless burning in Los Angeles. However, reckless burning is only one of the charges used to prosecute acts of arson in our area. Individuals can also face charges under Penal Code § 451 for “malicious arson.”
Malicious arson charges are treated more seriously by the court system in our area. The court always considers malicious arson as a felony. Individuals commit malicious arson if they start a fire in order to:
- Harm someone
- Commit fraud
- Annoy another person
A person’s intent can determine whether they face malicious arson or reckless burning charges in California. Individuals who intentionally try to cause damage or hurt people can face malicious arson accusations. Learn more about this charge with a property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles.
Typical Sentences for Malicious Arson in Los Angeles
As we mentioned, the court handles malicious arson more harshly than reckless burning. This means that the penalties are higher for malicious arson. This charge is always a felony and can result in prison time of up to:
- Three years for starting a fire on personal property
- Six years for starting a fire on forest land
- Eight years for starting a fire in an inhabited structure
- Nine years for starting a fire that causes a great bodily injury
Contact the Simmrin Law Group to get more answers about malicious arson charges in our area.
Defenses Against Reckless Burning in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help if you are accused of reckless burning. Members of our team are ready to work to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. We can also represent you in front of a judge and jury in California.
Allow us to show that you:
- Did not intend to start a fire
- Were not acting in a reckless way
- Were falsely accused of reckless burning
Our team will offer you legal help and guidance. Get the assistance you want by contacting us right away.
Talk to a Lawyer About Reckless Burning Charges in California
Reckless burning is the act of starting a fire due to risky or dangerous behavior. Our team at the Simmrin Law Group can help if you are accused of reckless burning. Just call us at