Arson Laws in CA

Arson is defined as the willfully, maliciously, or recklessly set fire of any building, forest land, or property. Even if you own the property, such as your house, you could even be charged with arson for setting fire to your own assets.

Although it is a basic human drive to be both fascinated by and fearful of fire, some people take their fixation with flames too far and cross the boundaries of the law by committing this unlawful act.

Arson Laws

Historically, arson was limited only to the malicious and intentional burning of another person’s home. Due to its very constricted definition, arson was generally only pursued in the most extreme of cases. As laws and statutes evolved, burning one’s own property and accidental fires from reckless behavior were soon recognized under the umbrella of these laws.

Modern-day definitions of arson have changed with the times, even recognizing that using explosives to damage a structure could be construed as arson. As statutes broaden their reach, more people are prosecuted under strict arson laws. However, the bail bond process offers citizens a chance to be free from incarceration during the process of their investigation and trial. Current interpretations of arson law mean that any of the following situations could be determined to be arson, such as:

  • Setting fire to a vehicle in an act of retaliation
  • Setting fire to one’s own home to collect insurance money
  • Accidentally setting fire to a forest, perhaps by inappropriate cigarette disposal or from not ensuring a camp fire is dead out
  • Damaging a building with fireworks

Penalties for Committing an Act of Arson

As with any crime, penalties for arson can be circumstantial and vary wildly from case to case. Some of the factors that are considered during sentencing include:

  • Type of property damaged
  • The total monetary amount of damage
  • Any possible victim injuries incurred from the act of arson
  • If the act was willful or reckless

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