Arson is considered a very serious felony crime in California, and can result in life-altering legal consequences, such as a permanent criminal record, jail time, and harsh monetary fines. There are many types of arson-related crimes, which can include everything from setting fire to one’s own property with fraudulent intent, to maliciously setting fire to another’s home or commercial property. As such, if you are facing arson charges, or were arrested or are under investigation for this offense, it is crucial to work with an attorney who is qualified to handle these complex types of cases. Having a qualified lawyer who knows the ins and outs of arson cases and the nuances associated therewith can possibly make the difference between jail time and your freedom.
If you are facing arson charges, keep in mind that anything you say and do can be used against you in a court of law. That is why it is important for you to assert your right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present before questioning by investigators can resume. Also, arson crimes committed in California are often investigated by elite and special units within many law enforcement divisions located throughout the State. This places a prosecuting attorney at a distinctive advance when bringing forth felony arson charges against an accused offender. With ample resources to build a strong case against you, it is essential that you take action now and fight back with a qualified arson defense lawyer by your side.
At The Law Offices of David M. Boertje, our seasoned arson defense attorneys will take all measures necessary to fight for your legal rights and win. This involves conducting a thorough background of the evidence in your case, securing witnesses, and aggressively representing you in all court-related matters. In other words, our legal professionals do anything and everything to win your case, and ensure that your constitutional rights are protected every step of the way. You can even count on us if you were arrested to visit you in jail and advise you of the steps necessary to post bail. To schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation, you can call our San Diego office at (619) 229 1870. You can also reach us at our North County location in Carlsbad at (760) 476 0901 or visit us online.California Arson Laws & Associated Penalties
In California, there are a number of different arson-related crimes and associated punishments governed by the California Penal Code. These are as follows:
- Penal Code Section 451(a) – arson resulting in serious bodily injury. This crime is punishable as a felony in California, with the potential for a prison sentence of up to 9 years or less. To be convicted under this section, the prosecutor must prove that you acted maliciously or willfully (with intention or purpose) in setting fire and burning a structure (i.e., a building, bridge, commercial property, residence, tent, etc.), and that bodily injury occurred as a result. Keep in mind that a mental state of “malicious” may include the intent to defraud, annoy or injure another individual.
- Penal Code Section 451(b) – arson of a structure that is inhabited. This is also a felony crime that is punishable by imprisonment for up to 8 years or less. Pursuant to this section, the prosecutor must prove that you acted with malice or willfulness in setting fire to and burning a structure that is inhabited. As noted above, a structure can be anything from a building to a tent.
- Penal Code Section 451(c) – arson of either an uninhabited structure or forest (i.e., brush-covered land, grasslands, woods, or cut over land). Like section 451(a) and 451(b), this crime is also punishable by a lengthy prison sentence, punishable up to 6 years or less. To succeed under 451(c), the prosecutor must prove that you acted willfully or maliciously in setting fire to and burning an uninhabited structure or forest.
- Penal Code Section 451(d) – Arson of your own property or someone else’s property (meaning personal property or land, but not including forestland). This crime in punishable by imprisonment of 3 years or less. The prosecution must prove that you acted with malice or willfulness in setting fire and burning a property that either you or someone else owns.
If you are facing arson-related charges in San Diego or the North County area, it is crucial to hire a qualified arson defense lawyer to help you. Contact The Law Offices of David M. Boertje today to learn more about our comprehensive legal services. When you meet with one our criminal defense attorneys, we will take the time necessary to answer all your questions, and will also assist you in mounting strong defense strategies on your behalf. Don’t sacrifice your constitutional rights, freedom and livelihood by representing yourself. Call us now to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We can be reached at our downtown San Diego office at (619) 229-1870. You can also contact us at our North County location in Carlsbad at (760) 476-0901, or visit us online. We look forward to providing you with superior criminal defense representation.