Is Arson a Criminal Offense?

Arson is when you intentionally and maliciously set a fire. This is a very serious offense. Because of this, arson offenses carry very harsh penalties, sometimes including lengthy prison sentences and steep fines.

Arson has two categories, malicious arson and reckless burning. Reckless burning is often a less serious offense from malicious arson but neither should be taken lightly. If you or a family member have been charged with malicious arson or reckless burning for a crime related to either one, reach out to a criminal defense attorney

Arts and law states it is illegal to set fire to any building, property, or forest land. It doesn’t matter where set the fire, but that the fire is set willfully and maliciously or recklessly, however, that matters when determining what law you will be charged under in regards to arson.

Arson Penal Code 451 PC

Penal code for 5 1 PC, or known as malicious arson law, is defined when both of the following elements are end play. The defendant burned or set fire to a structure, property, or forest and they did so willfully and maliciously. 

Law states that to burn or set fire to something is by damaging or destroying the item with fire. This means that even minor or partial damage of an object is considered arson. A structure in a broad term that includes things such as bridges, tents, or any type of building structure.

Property refers to automobiles, furniture, clothing, or any type of personal property. Property is also going to include land that is not forest land. And it is not illegal to burn your own personal property unless somebody else on the property is injured by the fire or you burn the property with the intention of committing fraud.

But what exactly does acting willingly and maliciously mean. To act willingly or willfully is to do so on purpose. To act maliciously is to commit a wrongful act within the intention of causing harm to property or such as injuries.

Reckless Burning Penal Code 452 PC

To be found guilty of violating Penal Code 451 PC, you must have had the intent to cause a fire. Causing a fire unintentionally will find you charged with penal code452 PC otherwise known as Reckless burning. The reckless burning penal code is defined by two elements which are: the defendant burned or set fire to a structure property or forest and they did so recklessly.

Reckless in this contact means you are knowingly doing something that presents a risk of causing a fire, and this is a gross deviation from how a reasonable person would act in the same situation. Reckless does not mean careless or negligent. A buyer that is started by accident is not going to be treated the same as a fire that was caused by recklessness.

 Reach out to your criminal defense lawyer to further discuss your arson case and determine whether you were reckless or an arsonist.

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