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What Happens if I’m Convicted of Arson in California?

There are few things worse than being charged with a crime, especially a crime as serious as arson. Please continue reading and reach out to a knowledgeable Red Bluff criminal lawyer from Cohen Criminal Law to learn more about arson charges in California and how we can help you fight them. Here are some of the questions you may have regarding the legal process ahead:

How is arson defined in California?

Here in the state of California, arson is defined as when a person acted willfully and maliciously by setting fire to any structure, forest, or property. If you’re accused of doing any of the aforementioned, whether for insurance reasons or otherwise, you’ll likely face a wide range of very serious penalties.

What penalties can I face for an arson charge?

Depending on the circumstances of the alleged arson charge, you can face a wide range of penalties. Just some of the consequences of an arson conviction are as follows:

  • Attempted arson warrants up to three years of incarceration and a potential $50,000 fine.
  • Aggravated arson is a felony that may warrant up to life in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.
  • Arson of property is a felony charge that can warrant up to three years of incarceration.
  • Arson causing damage to inhabited structures or properties (such as a house) is a felony charge that can warrant up to eight years of incarceration.
  • Arson causing great bodily injury is a felony crime that may entail up to nine years of incarceration.

If you’re facing any of the aforementioned charges, the most important thing you can do is retain the services of a competent and aggressive legal team who can fight for the best outcome possible on your behalf.

What are some potential defenses against an arson charge?

Fortunately, there are several potential defenses against those facing arson charges. For example, we could argue that it was an accident and that there was no willful or malicious intent in starting the fire. We may also use the following defenses, depending on the circumstances of your charges, to defend you:

  • You are a minor under the age of 14
  • Mental incapacitation
  • You committed the act of arson under duress
  • Justification/necessity

If you have any further questions about arson charges in California or how we can help if you’re currently facing them, simply pick up the phone and give us a call today so we can get started working on your case.


Attorney Cohen has fought on behalf of those charged with crimes and traffic violations for over 30 years, and he is ready to fight for you, too. Contact Cohen Criminal Law today to schedule your free initial consultation with our firm.