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Orange County Arson Attorney


Most images that come to people's minds regarding arson relate to the highly sensationalized residential fires that wind up in the news and are later determined to originate with a single person. This unfortunately misdirects the public from the much less dangerous (but more common) charges that appropriately characterize the offense.

Defense to Arson

Fires, whether large or small, can be caused for countless reasons. The reasons for the fire(s) may be intended or not. Nevertheless, defenses do in fact exist to the charge of arson even where the person accused to committing it actually intended to burn something. The reason for this lies in the malicious element associated with the crime. Because of this, where there is a lack of intent to set fire to a structure or property, the chances to secure a conviction for the charge are lessened. The evidence in the particular case will always vary. So even with a set of experienced eyes looking over the case, the facts that gave rise to the charge will be interpreted in many ways.

Law of Arson (Penal Code §451)

A person commits arson by willfully and maliciously setting fire to a structure, forest land, or property. (Penal Code § 451). Categorized as a very serious offense, the punishment for arson could range anywhere from county jail probation to imprisonment for up to 9 years. Given the large range in sentencing, it is best to have highly professional guidance when it comes to handling these kind of cases.

An example of arson could encompass a simple fire (which may have been intended) that suddenly spins out of control. For any number of reasons, once law enforcement becomes involved with investigating whether or not a malicious intent existed, the evidence could point to defendant's motive to burn a structure or property of another person—whether that was the actual case or not. As with many cases though, motive can be a powerful piece of evidence that points to guilt. In the same respect, however, lack of motive could be just as powerful when it comes to providing the client with a strong and reasonable defense to the charge.