Arson is defined in California as maliciously and willfully setting fire to property, including forest land and structures. A person can still be charged with arson no matter how slight the damage to the property was. An arson unlawfully causing a fire charge may result in two to six years in prison.

What If I Didn’t Start the Fire, but Helped. Can I Still Be Charged?

Penal Code Section 451 makes it unlawful to counsel, aid, or cause someone to commit arson. To aid, counsel, or cause someone to commit a crime is called accomplice liability.

What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove to Charge Me with Arson?

A prosecutor must prove the defendant acted both maliciously and willfully in aiding, counseling, or causing someone to set fire to property. This means the defendant committed the crime with the intent to injury or defraud someone.

Can I Be Charged with Setting Fire to My Personal Property?

It depends on the circumstances. In California, it’s not a crime to set fire to personal property. However, someone can be charged with arson if burning personal property was done to collect money or defraud the state.

What Is the Criminal Punishment for Arson?

A person can spend up to six years in prison for an arson felony conviction.

Should I Consult a Lawyer About My Arson Charge?

It’s in your best interest to consult a California criminal lawyer about an arson charge.