What are the factors or elements for 451 PC Arson?
Under California law, arson it is a crime to set fire to any building, forest land, or property—either
- Willfully and maliciously (this is the crime commonly known as “arson”), or
- Recklessly (this crime is often called “reckless burning” or “reckless arson”)
You can even be charged with California arson for setting your own property on fire, if:
- The property is a building or other real estate,
- You set fire to your personal property for a fraudulent purpose (to commit California insurance fraud, for example), or
- The fire causes injury to another person or to another person’s home, property, or land.
The punishment for arson charges in California depends on
- The type of property that was burned,
- Whether or not someone was injured, and
- Whether you set the fire willfully or only “recklessly.”
For example, under Penal Code 452 PC, so-called “reckless burning” of personal property is a misdemeanor in California law.
However, it becomes a wobbler—a crime that may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony—if you burn a building or forest land, or if the fire causes great bodily injury.
Willful and malicious arson is always a felony in California law, according to Penal Code 451 PC.
And if you commit arson and accidentally kill someone while doing so, you could even be charged with Penal Code 187 murder under California’s “felony-murder rule.”
How can we defend you against charges of California Penal Code 451 PC Arson?
Some common legal defenses can be useful in California arson cases include:
- The fire was an accident,
- The evidence against you is insufficient,
- The accusations against you are false,
- You are the victim of mistaken identification, and
- The fire was not even the result of arson.
We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.
The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!
Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
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Relevant Case Results
Young client with minimal criminal history charged with several SERIOUS FELONY ARSON AND STALKING CHARGES WITH SEVERAL ENHANCEMENTS- RESOLVED by Court referral jail alternative to the Ohlhoff House in San Francisco. In addition, our law firm successfully negotiated the court ordered restitution from over $350,000 to just $2,000