Under California’s arson laws, Penal Code § 451 and 452, it is a crime if an individual willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of any structure (building), forest land, or property.
Reckless burning, under § 452 of the Penal Code, is when an individual is guilty of unlawfully causing a fire when he recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned any structure, forest land, or property.
In California, you can also be charged with arson for setting fire to your own property.
If convicted, penalties can include: 2 to 6 years in state prison for setting fire to a structure that is uninhabited, or forest land; 3 to 8 years in prison for setting fire to an inhabited dwelling; 5 to 9 years for arson that causes substantial bodily injury or harm.
The punishment for arson charges can vary and increase depending on the type and total of property burned, any injuries sustained, whether the fire was willfully or recklessly set, or if there are previous arson violations.
If you or someone you know has been charged with arson, you should contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. The dedicated attorneys at Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC offer free initial consultations as well as reasonable fees and financing options to meet our client’s needs. Our attorneys are available to discuss your specific situation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have three Bay Area office locations to serve you located in San Francisco, Dublin, and Redwood City, California.