Were you charged with arson?

Arson Lawyers

If you’ve been charged, our experienced team can help you.

Home » Property Crimes Lawyer » Arson Lawyer

California Arson Lawyer – Penal Code 451 PC

How Can an Arson Attorney Help Me?

If you have been charged with arson in California, call the experienced property crimes lawyers at My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882. We are passionate about defending your rights and protecting your freedom. Being charged with any crime is scary. My Rights Law is here to be in your corner in the courtroom and defend you against the accusations.

For a free consultation to discuss your case, call My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or contact us by filling out our secure web from. We look forward to working with you.

What Is Arson?

Arson is a crime in California under Penal Code Section 451. A person commits arson, according to 451 pc, when they “willfully and maliciously [set] a fire, [cause], or [aid] someone to burn a structure, forest land, or property.” [1]A person can also be charged with arson in California if they recklessly start a fire and the fire causes injury to another person or damages property. This offense is also known as reckless burning.

Because of the extreme heat, arid weather, and concerns about climate change, citizens and leaders in California are very zealous about protecting citizens, land, and property from avoidable fire damage. However, even with the growing effort to reduce the number of avoidable fire damage incident, the percentage of reported arson crimes have increased by 20% across the state over the last six years.

Some terms are not easily defined when looking at the law of arson. The following is a further breakdown of some of the terms included in the definition of arson.

What Does “Willfully” Mean?

To put it simply, ‘willfully’ refers to acting freely. A person willfully acts when they act without provocation or influence. A willful act is done intentionally. [2]

What Does “Maliciously” Mean?

A malicious act is an act that is done with the intent to harm. In an arson case, a person acts maliciously when they set fire to a structure, a person, or other property.

What Qualifies As A “Structure” In An Arson Case?

Under California law, the following qualifies as a structure under the arson offense: [3]

  • Power plants
  • Tunnels
  • Bridges
  • Buildings
  • Tents

What Is A “Forest Land”?

California Penal Code defines a ‘forest land’ includes any wooded, grassy, or brush-covered area.[4] Due to the dry climate and frequency of fires, California law is especially concerned with protecting forest land.

What Is Included In The Definition Of “Property”?

Under California law in the arson statute, “property” includes all other property not included in forest land. Thus, property includes real and personal property. Real property is land and houses or any property that cannot be moved. Personal property is any other property. Examples of personal property include vehicles and clothes.

What Are The Elements Of Arson?

To prove a case of arson, the state must prove all the following elements:

  1. That the defendant set fire or caused to be set fire to, burned or caused to be burned a structure, forest land, or property, and
  2. The defendant acted willfully and maliciously

What Are The Penalties For Arson In California?

Each crime has a penalty. The severity of punishment determines the punishment that the court imposes. Examples of the punishments that will be imposed include:

  • Up to three years in jail for malicious arson of personal property
  • Up to six years in jail for malicious arson of a structure or forest
  • Up to eight years in jail for malicious arson of an inhabited structure
  • Up to nine years in jail for arson causing grave bodily harm [5]

The severity of the punishment increases based on the number of people affected, the extent of the property damage done on the property, and other previous convictions that the defendant may have for arson or other offenses.

What Defenses Are Available For Arson?

Just as with any other crime, there are defenses to arson. Some defenses to arson include:

  • Being falsely accused. It is possible that the defendant can be charged with a crime that they did not commit. If you have been charged with arson but have not committed the act, being falsely accused is a defense to the charge.
  • The fire was a result of an equipment or wiring malfunction. Arson requires an intentional, willful, and malicious act.
  • The fire was caused by accident.

Forming a good defense is essential to having a favorable result after being charged with a crime. Call the attorneys at My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 to get the help you need. At My Rights Law, we are passionate about the representation that we provide to our clients. We are interested in learning your story and helping you get your life back on track.

When Should I Get An Arson Attorney Involved?

A lawyer should be involved in any case where your freedom is at stake. If you have been charged with a crime, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner gives you the best chance to get a favorable result.

You should have an attorney on your side if you are having a tough time understanding the terms of any plea agreement that you have been offered. You never want to sign an agreement without fully understanding it. Remember that you have the right to an attorney in a criminal matter, and you should exercise that right when charged with a crime.

You should contact an attorney when:

  • You are initially arrested for a criminal offense
  • Before you speak to a police officer
  • Before you speak to a prosecutor
  • Before you plead guilty to any criminal offense
  • If you do not understand your rights
  • At any point after being charged with a criminal offense

The arson lawyers at My Rights Law can help you during each of the above stages of a case. We help each of our clients get the best results in a criminal matter. If you have been charged in a criminal case, call the California arson lawyers at My Rights Legal Group to get the best results available in a criminal case. Call us at (888) 702-8882 or contact us by completing our secure web form to schedule a free consultation. You need an attorney to assist you, and we are here to help.

Contact My Rights Law Today

At My Rights Law, we have the expertise and knowledge required to help you understand your rights in a criminal case. We are passionate about defending your rights and protecting your freedom. We want to speak to you about your case and discuss your options. Call us at (888) 702-8882 or contact us through our secure web form to schedule a free consultation.

[1] California Penal Code 451 PC.
[2] CALCRIM No. 1515.
[3] CALCRIM No. 1515.
[4] CALCRIM No. 1515.
[5] California Penal Code Section 451d PC.

We’re On Your Side Free Consultation

(888) 702-8882


  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Got my case dropped from a felony to 2 misdemeanors to having everything dismissed. Justice has been served, nothing more I could ask for! Many thanks Bobby!
Rod R.
Bobby Shamuilian was Hands Down the BEST attorney I have ever dealt with. He is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, who is HONEST and not in it to try and rip you off for the money. His staff is professional and extremely pleasant. I have saved his number in my contacts and will call him if I am EVER in need of an attorney, I would also recommend him to anybody I know, he is an AMAZING attorney.
Annifred F.
I found myself facing a DUI and scared to death. From the very start of the initial consultation, Attorney Bobby Shamuilian put me at ease. They handled my DMV Hearing and the court proceeding and truly fought for me. They were always attentive to my phone calls and emails, keeping me informed. They were able to get me a reduced charged so that I do not have a DUI on my record. I am so thankful to have retained them for my case.
Good attorneys are hard to find! Bobby Shamuilian actually represented me with my best interest at heart. He gave it his all and because of that my case is being dismissed today. This firm is most definitely the best one to have if you need a criminal attorney. God forbid I ever need a criminal defense attorney, I would not even consider anyone else to represent me. Absolutely an amazing attorney!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!
I am a person who believes in giving credit where credit is due and I absolutely need to say that Bobby is amazing. The thing that stood out about him initially was that he was actually empathetic and showed compassion about what we were going through… I would absolutely 150% recommend Bobby to any of my friends and family – he is such a genuine guy and knows how to do his job, and do it well.
Bree F.
Everyone in the office was helpful and professional. There was never a time when I thought they weren’t going to be there when we needed them. Their reputation and professionalism was the primary factor for using this law firm. Boy, were we impressed with all of the work they put into our case. Thank you to everyone in the office for always making us feel like we were your only clients!
Neckole S.
Thank you Bobby. You guys are top notch. Kept me informed on everything that was going on with my case and I didn’t have to show up in court once. Got my case dismissed, now I can move on. I would recommend this law firm to anyone that wants a fair shake.
Bobby Shamuilian got me 1.4 million dollars…just kidding:) He did get my reckless driving traffic violation dismissed without me having to go to court though. The staff at My Rights Law are very capable lovely beings… Thank you Bobby can’t tell you how much it means to me man…
Gary D.
An excellent and professional consultation followed by a successful win of my case.
Dan P.
I want to thank Bobby and the entire staff. They recalled my warrant and got my case dismissed in no time. They answered my concerns and took me step by step in the process. I didn’t even have to appear in court. They represented me and took care of my case all the way. Thank you!!!
Suriel A.
I would like to thank Mr. Shamuilian for helping me to get a good result for my case. They are very reliable people that kept things very professional. I recommend them strongly, they will help you tremendously. I was very lucky that I had the opportunity to work with such highly skilled people. You won’t regret hiring them, thanks again.
I couldn’t be happier with the service we received. From the very beginning I could tell that these lawyers knew a lot about DUI cases and throughout our court days they went above and beyond to make sure we were prepared for whatever might come our way. They definitely prepare you for the worst but get you the best. They covered every single base and we got an amazing outcome. I would recommend them any day.
I had a difficult case that I was trying to fight from outside the state it was turned down twice. Once by the DA, and the second time by the judge, they continued to fight for me, and got the results I was looking for. They really do care about their clients and will not stop fighting till they get you the results you want.
Adrian A.