Have you been charged with arson or are you under investigation? You would be wise to act quickly to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At The Law Offices of Robert G. Cummings, our Redwood City criminal defense lawyer has more than 15 years of experience representing crimes throughout the Bay Area.
California Penal Code sections 451 through 457 define the parameters of arson. If arson results in great bodily harm to another, it is considered a felony and can carry a sentence of up to nine years in state prison per each act of arson, not including enhancements. When a person sets fire to a residential or inhabited structure and no one is injured, it is a felony and may be punished by a sentence of up to eight years in prison. If a person sets fire to an uninhabited structure or forest land, they may receive a felony sentence of up to six years in prison.
In general terms, arson is the malicious and willful act of:
The sentencing of your case will depend on the level of potential harm or actual harm resulting from the fire. You can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony arson offense based on the assumption of the level of harm you caused. Below is a breakdown of the penalties for a misdemeanor or felony arson crime.
You can also be charged with aggravated arson when an individual sets fire to another’s personal property willfully and maliciously. Those convicted of aggravated arson in California will likely be sentenced to 1 to 5 additional years in a California state prison.
Aggravated arson can be charged in the following circumstances:
As a prosecutor, our attorney was assigned to the Felony Trial Team of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, a team responsible for the prosecution of arson cases. We have had in-depth meetings, independent conversations, and formed personal relationships with arson investigators and fire inspectors.
We have attended training courses and understand the evidence necessary to defend the crime of arson. Our firm has also litigated civil insurance matters based on coverage of fire damage and has examined experts in that capacity. As an experienced trial attorney, our lawyer knows the "ins and outs" of arson defense. When it comes to arson, we have the knowledge and expertise to best protect your rights. Our Redwood City arson defense attorney and firm represent individuals in a variety of criminal cases in the Bay Area.