Arson California Penal Code §451

If you or a loved one has been charged with the crime of Arson don't wait! Call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian. The best legal defense is to have an experienced attorney fight for you. The well trained and experienced attorneys at The  Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian know the law and are experienced in defending charges for Arson and other crimes.

A person can be charged with the crime of Arson (California Penal Code §451) where they:

A.Willfully and maliciously sets fire to any structure, forest land, or property.

OR

B. Willfully and maliciously burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property.

A) Willfully And Maliciously Sets Fire To Any Structure, Forest Land, Or Property:

Willful And Malicious

To meet this element the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted willfully.  To act willfully means to act with a purpose. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant also acted maliciously. Malice is defined as acting with wicked or mischievous motives or intentions. A malicious act is an intentional wrongful act without legal justification.

Example:

An example of willful and malicious burning is where a person intentionally lights a match and deliberately throws the lit match on a gasoline-soaked carpet inside of a friend’s home.

Such an act is done with intent by virtue of the fact that defendant consciously held a match against the striking surface of a matchbox, then once ignited intentionally tossed the match onto a gasoline-soaked carpet. Here, the defendant, as would any reasonable person, possessed the knowledge that gasoline, a combustible liquid, coupled with fire creates an immediate blaze.  Defendant’s act was willful because it was done with the intent to cause a fire. Further, defendant’s act was malicious because defendant knew that setting fire inside of one's home is a wrongful act.

Sets Fire To Any Structure

A defendant can be charged with Arson where they willfully and maliciously set fire to any structure. Along with a willful and malicious act, the prosecution must establish that a burning was done to a structure. A structure is defined as anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground.

Example:

House, office building, mobile homes, outhouses.

Sets Fire To Any Forest Land

If no structure was burned, a defendant can be charged with Arson where they willfully and maliciously set fire to a forest area. A forest is a dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract of land.

Example:

National Parks

Sets Fire To Any Property

If no structure or forest was burned, a defendant can be charged with Arson where he or she willfully and maliciously set fire to a any property.  Property is anything that is owned by a person or entity.

The law recognizes two types of property:

1) real property such as land, and

2) personal property such as personal movable tangible objects.

Example of real property:  Land, Home fixed to the land, Structure fixed to the land.

Example of personal property: Car, computer, cellphone, motorcycle.

Defenses

The facts of your case are critical to a valid defense. If you or a loved one have been charged with Penal Code,§ 451, don't wait. Call the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian have been successful in dismissing Penal Code §451.  

Some common defenses to § 451 are:

  • Accident

  • Mistaken identity

  • False accusation.

  • Insufficient evidence

  • Alibis

  • Mistake of fact 

Recklessly Starting A Fire That Causes Damage/Injury California Penal Code  §452

California Penal Code 452 is deemed a “Wobbler,” a wobbler is either a misdemeanor or a felony. A person 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.

Unlike §451 a defendant’s act does not need to be willful and or malicious. A reckless act will satisfy §452.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must show that: 

Defendant recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property.

Defendant Acted Recklessly

A Reckless act is an act which a person knew or should have known is likely to cause harm.

Example:

Tossing a lit cigarette on the floor of puddle of gasoline at a gas station.

Such conduct would be deemed reckless because an average person would know that gasoline is incredibly flammable and tossing a lit cigarette into a puddle of gas would create a roaring fire and possible explosion of the gas line.

Sets Fire Or Burns Or Causes To Be Burned Any Structure

A defendant can be charged with Arson where he or she recklessly set fire or burns or causes to be burned any structure. A structure is defined as anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground.

Example:

House, office building, mobile homes, outhouses.

Sets Fire Or Burns Or Causes To Be Burned Any Forest Land

If no structure was burned, a defendant can be charged with Arson where he or she recklessly set fire or burns or causes to be burned any forest. A forest is a dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract of land.

Example:

National Parks

Sets Fire Or Burns Or Causes To Be Burned Any Property

If no structure or forest was burned, a defendant can be charged with Arson where they  recklessly set fire or burn or cause to be burned any property.  Property is anything that is owned by a person or entity.

The law recognizes two types of property:


1) real property such as land and

2) personal property such as personal movable tangible objects.

Example of real property: Land, Home fixed to the land, Structure fixed to the land.

Example of personal property: Car, computer, cellphone, motorcycle.

Sets Fire Or Burns Or Causes To Be Burned Your Own Property

Most arson crimes involve the burning of property which belongs to other people. However, you can also be charged with arson if you set fire to your own property. To be convicted of arson for burning your own property you must either set the fire for fraudulent purposes, or the fire must result in someone else's property getting damaged.

Example:

Setting fire to your home or business with the intent to collect on your insurance policy is arson. Similarly, if you intentionally set fire to your property and that fire then causes someone else's property to get damaged, you may also be convicted of arson.

Penalties

Unlawfully starting a fire that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four or six years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

Unlawfully causing a fire that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

Unlawfully causing a fire of a structure or forest land is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two or three years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

Unlawfully causing a fire of property is a misdemeanor. Unlawfully causing a fire of property does not include one burning or causing to be burned his own personal property unless there is injury to another person or to another person’s structure, forest land or property. 

Defenses

The facts of your case are critical to a valid defense. If you or a loved one have been charged with Arson, CPC § 452 don't wait. Call the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian have been successful in defending against charges of California Penal Code §452 and other crimes.

Some common defenses to CPC § 452 are:

  • Accident i.e., the defendant’s act was not reckless.

  • Mistaken identity

  • False accusation.

  • Insufficient evidence

  • Alibis

  • Mistake of fact

Don’t wait! Call Now!

If you or a loved one have been charged with Arson or any other criminal charges,

don’t wait! The best defense is to have an attorney from The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian to fight for your rights.