Members of different law enforcement agencies can perform arson investigations in the state of California. Often, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) will step in to handle arson investigations.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement can step in to handle an arson case. In some cases, firefighting agencies will also assist with an arson investigation. Learn more by contacting our team at the Simmrin Law Group now.
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The ATF Can Investigate Arson in California
As we mentioned, the ATF sometimes steps in to investigate arson cases in Los Angeles. Generally, the ATF only deals with federal charges involving arson. The Federal court often handles arson cases if:
- The crime crossed state lines
- The crime involved the Federal government
This means that the ATF does not investigate all arson charges in our area. In some situations, local and state authorities will handle an arson investigation, instead.
State and Local Arson Investigations in California
Local and state authorities are sometimes responsible for investigating arson charges in our area. Sheriffs handle law enforcement in some counties. Other counties have police officers. Special arson and fire investigators will handle the investigation.
Note that, in some situations, a firefighting agency will step in to help with the investigation. Many fire and arson investigators receive training from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Regardless of the agency they work for, these individuals will focus on determining the causes of a fire.
What Arson Investigators Look for in Los Angeles
Arson investigators work to determine what – or who – caused a fire here in our area. These individuals will gather evidence and assess the causes of a major fire. They can look for:
- The presence of accelerants, like gasoline
- Evidence that utilities were tampered with
- Burn patterns that indicate an intentional fire
Arson investigators will report their findings to law enforcement personnel and the prosecution handling an arson charge. Find out more about what arson investigators do by contacting the Simmrin Law Group’s arson lawyers in Los Angeles.
However, you should know that it is actually very difficult to prove that someone committed arson. Only a very small percentage of arson accusations lead to a conviction around the country. This is because it is difficult to show that someone intentionally started a fire in a definitive way.
Defending Yourself Against an Intent to Commit Arson
A property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can work to dispute the claims made by arson investigators. In many cases, arson charges focus on the intention of the person who started a fire. Individuals should only face an arson conviction if they started a fire:
Individuals act recklessly if they act in an unreasonable or unsafe way. For example, starting a large fire directly beside an old barn could be a reckless act. This could lead to criminal charges in Los Angeles.
Individuals who act in a malicious way face harsher charges in the court system. Malicious behavior involves starting a fire to:
- Harm someone
- Annoy someone
- Defraud someone
You can work with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles if you were accused of recklessly or maliciously starting a fire in California.
Defenses Against California Arson Charges
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help if you were accused of arson in California. We can step in to dispute the evidence gathered by arson investigators. We also work to show that you did not intend to start a fire.
Our team focuses on arguing that you were falsely accused of arson or that you started a fire by accident. This can allow us to get your charges reduced through a plea bargain with the prosecution. We also know how to get your charges dismissed in some cases.
However, we can also represent you in court here in California. Allow us to stand up for you in front of a judge and jury, starting right now.
A Lawyer Can Help if You’ve Been the Subject of an Arson Investigation
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help if you are accused of arson in the state or federal court system. Let our arson lawyers in Los Angeles get to work for you now. Find out how we could help with a free consultation. Just call