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Arson is a very serious crime with stiff penalties. If you or someone you know has been accused of this crime you should contact an aggressive and experienced California criminal defense attorney immediately and without delay.
Arson is the willful AND malicious setting of fire to a structure, property or forest. (see Penal Code § 451.) Unlawfully Causing a Fire is the is the reckless setting of fire or burning or causing to burn of any structure, property or forest. (see Penal Code § 452.)
Arson is always a felony while unlawfully causing a fire can be a misdemeanor is limited circumstances. The two crimes are closely related but obviously arson is much more serious.
Burning your own property is generally not arson. However, if you burn your own property and it burns someone else's property or if you burn your own property to commit insurance fraud you could be charged with the crime of arson.Modesto Arson Sentencing
Sentencing for arson can be as low as local county jail time all the way up to 25 years in prison. The possible sentences are broken down below:
- Up to 3 years prison for setting fire to someone else's property
- Up to 6 years prison for setting fire to forest land or an uninhabited structure
- Up to 8 years prison for setting fire to an inhabited dwelling
- Up to 9 years prison if the fire causes great bodily injury on someone
Plus these sentences can be increased or aggravated under the following scenarios:
- Up to 5 additional years in prison where multiple structures are burned
- Up to 5 additional years in prison for causing great bodily injury to a firefighter or cop
- Up to 5 additional years in prison if you possess one or more prior arson convictions
The Bogan Law Firm's office is centrally located in Modesto, close to Stockton, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and all of the Bay Area cities and counties. Do not hesitate to contact The Bogan Law Firm directly at 209-565-3425 if you or someone you know is accused of or charged with arson or unlawfully causing a fire.