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Arson Defense Lawyers in San Bernardino & Redlands, CA

Arson Laws in California

Because of its aggressive and destructive nature as a crime against property and a threat to human life, arson is heavily pursued and prosecuted in California. This is especially true in a state where the threat of fire is enormous and where such fires have led to millions of dollars in property loss as well as injury and death to firefighters and the public. If you are being investigated for arson or have already been charged with this offense, it is critical that you have reputable and diligent legal representation as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you could be facing serious criminal punishment and a future with a permanent criminal record.

As in all criminal cases, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Each element of the offense must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. Our skilled Redlands criminal defense attorneys will put all of their vast experience, skills, and resources behind your defense they we seek to help you obtain the best possible outcome.

Charged with arson? Free case evaluations are available at Kassel and Kassel. Contact us online or at (909) 581-4888 Hablamos español.

What is Arson?

Arson is defined under California Penal Code Section 451 which states that you are guilty of this offense if you “willfully and maliciously” set fire to, cause to be burned, or aid in the burning of “any structure, forest land, or property.” It is also defined as “reckless burning” under California Penal Code Section 452.

In California, how you are charged will depend on the facts and circumstances of the incident such as what was destroyed, the extent of the destruction, whether injuries or deaths occurred, and whether motive opportunity was involved. Two types of arson exist under Section 451:

  • Simple arson which is defined as the willful and malicious burning of property (as stated above)

  • Aggravated arson which includes the intent to injure or to damage property when engaging in the willful and malicious burning of property

An example of motive opportunity would include a property being over-insured, in mortgage arrears, and the owner failing in attempts to sell it. If accelerants were discovered to have been a cause in its commission, that would indicate motive opportunity.

What are the Penalties for Arson?

Arson may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. In most cases of serious fires, it is a felony charge.

Penalties for willful and malicious arson can include:

  • In the case of fire to a structure or forest land, two, four, or six years in prison

  • In the case of fire to an inhabited dwelling, three, five, or eight years in prison

  • Where great bodily injury has occurred, five, seven, or nine years in prison

  • Where someone has died through arson, it can lead to murder charges

Turn to an Experienced San Bernardino/Redlands Arson Defense Attorney

We highly recommend that you turn to Kassel and Kassel, serving the accused in Redlands, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Victorville, Banning, and the surrounding areas. Our highly rated firm has been serving these communities since 1992. Our years in service have resulted in extensive criminal trial experience and an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, a well-known and respected legal industry organization. We handle both state and federal cases, including those involving the FBI. No matter how complex your case may appear to be, we have the legal knowledge, trial skills, and resources to thoroughly investigate all factors. Our team will be in search of a defense strategy that will put you in the best possible legal position as you move through the criminal process. Your attorney will be by your side throughout all phases, providing the legal guidance you need to make critical decisions that can deeply affect your future.

Get a strong defense team behind you – call us at (909) 581-4888 today.


See Why You Want Us by Your Side
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