Arson FAQs

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 Calfiornia 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 does a California prosecutor have to 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 the fire. 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 often use three common defenses for an individual charged with arson, 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 penalty for felony arson in California can range from two to nine years, although certain factors can add to the penalty, including:

  • Whether the fire caused injury to people, 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 a previous arson violation on their record

If you have been charged with arson in the state of California, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel by calling 310-375-5858.