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Arson FAQ

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Answers To Your California Arson Questions

California law prohibits the deliberate and malicious setting of fire that injures a person or their property. Our Torrance defense lawyers offer an overview of California arson in this video.

Can I be found guilty of felony arson in California if I accidentally set fire to my own house?

In California, you may be considered guilty of felony arson if you deliberately set fire to your own home to defraud an insurance company, or if the fire injured another person or their property.

What must a California prosecutor show to prove that I am guilty of felony arson?

If you have been charged with felony arson, prosecutors may try to prove that the fire was not naturally caused and that you set it. If you are charged with felony arson, do not make a possibly incriminating statement to the police; call a lawyer immediately.

What are some common defenses to a felony arson charge?

Torrance criminal defense lawyers use three common defenses against arson charges, including wrongful identification, insufficient direct evidence and proving that the fire was caused accidentally rather than deliberately.

Is an arson charge the same as unlawfully causing a fire?

Defined by California Penal Code 452, “unlawfully causing a fire” is a less serious charge than felony arson and involves reckless rather than deliberate action.

What are the penalties for felony arson in California?

The penalties for felony arson in California can range from two to nine years, although certain factors can add to the penalty, including:

  • Whether the fire injured anyone, including building inhabitants or firefighters
  • Whether the fire affected the defendant’s personal property or the property of others
  • Whether the fire affected one or multiple buildings and whether any of those buildings were inhabited
  • Whether the defendant has an arson violation on their record

If you have been charged with arson in California, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel through Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, by calling 424-552-3901 or emailing us.