Southern California Arson Defense Attorney
Are you facing arson charges? Get help from an expert arson defense attorney now
In the California Penal Code, arson is defined as the willful, malicious, or reckless burning of any structure, land, or property. Generally speaking, it is not illegal to burn your own property, unless your intent is to make a fraudulent insurance claim after the fire, or if the fire injures someone else or damages their property. The crime may be upgraded to aggravated arson if the defendant has already been convicted of arson within the past 10 years, if the fire caused over $6.5 million in damages, or if the fire affected at least five inhabited structures. No matter what type of fire you’ve been accused of setting, you’ll need the help of an expert Southern California arson defense lawyer to protect your rights.
The law provides four different penalties for arson depending on the type of property burned, whether or not anyone was injured or killed, and whether the fire was set deliberately or recklessly. Both intentional and reckless burning of structures, land, or property can potentially result in felony arson charges. You may face additional years in prison if you have a prior arson conviction, if an emergency worker was grievously injured in the fire, or if multiple people were injured. If someone was killed in the fire, you may even face the penalties associated with homicide.
Possible Legal Defenses
In an arson case, the prosecutor needs to prove that you acted willfully or recklessly. In other words, they have to prove that the fire was not started by accident. Leaving the iron on is an example of an accident that could start a fire; flicking your cigarette into dry grass is an example of a reckless act. If your criminal defense lawyer can prove that the fire was an accident, you are not guilty of arson. Other possible defense strategies include poking holes in the prosecutor’s evidence to suggest that there is insufficient evidence to prove arson or even that someone else set the fire.
Choosing your Southern California Arson Defense Lawyer
Because arson cases can be very complex and involve issues related to witness testimony and technical forensic evidence, it is very important to choose a southern California criminal defense attorney with specific experience in this type of case. Dan E Chambers makes an excellent choice for your arson defense attorney. He has the experience and the dedication required to build the best possible defense case for you.
The Following Penal Code Sections Apply to Arson: PC Section 450 through 457.1