February 9, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

In California, arson is considered a particularly heinous crime, especially during the summer when wildfires grab national headlines every year. Arson is a complicated matter with varying levels of severity in punishments for each case. There are many factors to consider, including the circumstances of the accused and the type of damage caused. It is important to be thorough and know the procedures regarding arson cases.

In California, arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning of a structure, forest, or land. In many arson cases, our law firm can successfully defend the case by being able to show that the accused did not act maliciously or willfully to set the fire. The start of many fires can be disputed and often can be caused by neglectful actions or by pure accident. The accused may lack specific intent to actually start a fire, cause the fire by accident, or be intoxicated. These defenses may be available to you, but you must consult with an attorney to review your case.

A defendant can be charged with either simple arson or aggravated arson. Simple arson will be charged when a defendant willfully and maliciously set fire to or burned a structure, forest, land, or property.

Aggravated arson will be charged if the defendant willfully and maliciously set fire to or burned a structure with the intent on injuring someone, or to damage property which would likely injure someone. Also, the fire must have caused a damage exceeding $5,650,000, or the fire damaged or destroyed five or more inhabited structures.

A conviction for simple arson of property is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for up to three years. A conviction for arson of a structure or forest land or arson can be punishable with a state prison term of up to six years. Arson that causes great bodily injury can result in a state prison term of up to nine years. An aggravated arson conviction can result in ten years to life in prison.

For more information, go to www.wklaw.com and read our Arson section. You will find invaluable information regarding the charges you or a loved one may be facing and the possible defenses in your case.

If you or a loved one is facing arson charges, you should call the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. We can help you understand the complexities of this issue and provide you with the best possible defense for your case. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients against these charges. Contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense arson attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839. We will be there when you call.

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