Arson Prosecution – Penal Code Section 451
In order for a prosecutor to convict you of “simple” arson in California, they must prove the following two elements.
1. The defendant set fire to or burned (or counseled, helped or cause the burning of) a structure, forest, land or property.
2. He or she acted willfully and maliciously.
If an Los Angeles arson defense attorney can create a reasonable doubt with regards to either of those factors, it is possible that a defendants charges will be dismissed or the defendant will be found not guilty.
Aggravated Arson – Penal Code Section 451.5
Aggravated Arson is a more serious charge in California and presents more of a challenge to an Orange County arson attorney. That said, it is also more of a challenge for a prosecutor to prove. Unlike simple arson, there are three factors that must be proven in order for prosecutors to gain a conviction in an arson case.
1. The defendant acted willfully, maliciously, deliberately, and with premeditation.
2. The defendant acted with intent to injure one or more persons, or to damage property under circumstances likely to injure one or more persons, or to damage one or more structures or inhabited dwellings.
3. The fire caused property damage and other losses exceeding $5,650,000.00 (including cost to put the fire out), or the fire damaged or destroyed five or more inhabited structures.