What you need to know about the crime of Arson in California – Penal Code Section 451

By: Wallin & Klarich

Arson charges in California are prosecuted pursuant to Penal Code Section 451. The critical elements of the crime of arson are:

(1) Did the defendant set fire to or burned (or counseled, helped or cause the burning of) a structure, forest, land or property?
(2) Did he or she act willfully and maliciously?

Arson is an extremely serious crime, with severe penalties under California arson law. California Penal Code 451 forbids intentionally or maliciously setting fire to a structure, land or any type of property. California Penal Code 452 also forbids reckless burning, which is defined as unlawfully causing a fire. The latter is the less severe of the two, and requires that prosecutors prove that you set fire to something and that you did so recklessly. In that case, it does not matter what your intention was, only that you knew a potential risk existed and you ignored that risk when you did it.

To fully understand the differences between each arson charge, it is important to call a Southern California arson attorney at Wallin and Klarich today. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and can help you achieve the best possible results. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. With offices located throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties, we will be there for you when you call.

Posted In: Arson