Los Angeles Arson Lawyer – CPC 451
In the state of California, arson is an extremely serious felony. Specifically, arson is the deliberate and malicious burning or charring of another’s property. There are a number of different arson offenses, such as arson of an uninhabited structure, arson of an inhabited structure, and attempted arson. Setting fire to one’s own property is also arson when done with the intent to defraud (as is the case of persons trying to collect insurance money).
Any knowledgeable West Covina criminal lawyer can tell you that based on the kind of arson committed, the punishments can differ greatly.
Arsons are typically investigated by special law enforcement units. These units utilize highly advanced chemical analyses in order to identify the point of origin of a fire. Given the substantial loss of life and/or property that takes place as a result of arson, law enforcement will occasionally take months or even years to completely investigate the fire before someone is even charged. Arson investigators also look at the possible motivations behind the crime, because in some instances, the arson is committed as way of getting back at someone for things such as domestic violence-related issues or the person’s cooperation with the authorities; alternatively, it may have been done in order to hide another crime, such as murder.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove to Convict
In order for an individual to be found guilty of the crime of arson, the prosecution will have to prove certain things. First, the prosecution must be demonstrate:
- that the individual actually set fire to or burned a structure, property, or forest land; and
- that he or she acted intentionally and with malice. With respect to the meaning of malice for purposes of arson (and all other types of crimes), it is when someone performs a wrongful or unlawful act with the intent to defraud, injure, or even annoy someone else. It should be noted, though, that an individual is not guilty of arson if all of the following apply:
- the individual burns his or her own property;
- it is done for any reason other than to defraud other people or companies; and
- no one else is harmed.
If you have been charged with arson, you need the services of an experienced West Covina criminal lawyer. When facing such a serious offense, you must have a skilled attorney in your corner. Mr. Cota will examine the facts of your case for potential defenses or mitigating factors, such as alibi, mistaken identity, and accident, that could lead to your case being dismissed or to a favorable plea offer. Call Daniel Cota at (800) 351-6860 for a free consultation.