Oakland Arson Lawyer
Oakland law enforcement and prosecutors take instances of arson seriously. In addition to causing severe damage to the intended target, fires may get out of control, especially in California. If you find yourself facing charges of arson, you may wish to seek the services of an Oakland arson lawyer.
A dedicated defense attorney with the skill-set and knowledge necessary to explain and fight a charge of arson may be able to help you. If the police accuse you of arson, there may be a dramatic impact on your freedom and your reputation within your community. Fortunately, a dedicated criminal attorney could help to work against charges and explain the law behind allegations of arson.
Types of Arson in Oakland
In Oakland, there is a legal distinction between maliciously and carelessly setting fires. Due to this difference, depending on the facts surrounding the specific case, the government may charge a person who sets a fire with a misdemeanor or a felony.
If someone is accused of willful or malicious arson, they may face a felony if convicted, according to California Penal Code § 451. Generally, malicious arson means intentionally setting fire or causing something to burn with an intention to cause harm. The circumstances of a willful arson charge could impact the potential punishment. It is important to note that a malicious arson is a “strike” offense.
Accusations of recklessly starting a fire to a building, land, or forest could result in both felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the specific circumstances according to CA Penal Code § 452. Reckless arson involves directly setting fire to something or causing something to burn through careless action.
Penalties Someone Could Face
Generally, a felony conviction of willful arson that injures someone could result in a sentence of up to nine years in prison, whereas a willful burning of inhabited building could result in eight years in prison. Burning a building, forest, or property may result in a prison sentence of up to six years.
For example, if reckless arson injured someone, the court could pursue felony charges and may punish an individual with up to six years in jail, while the reckless burning of a structure or forest could result in felony convictions of up to three years in prison. However, the court may punish the burning of property as a misdemeanor if no one was injured.
Other factors, such as previous arson convictions, may enhance the sentence for both willful and reckless arson offenses, according to CA Penal Code § 451.1 and § 452.1. The court may also enhance a sentence for the following circumstances:
- Injury of an emergency response worker
- Multiple injured parties
- Multiple structures burned
- Use of an accelerant or delayed ignition device
Reach Out to an Oakland Arson Attorney Today
If you are facing charges of arson, consider reaching out to a dedicated Oakland arson lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney could assist you by collecting evidence, helping you communicate with police, and presenting a strong defense in court. Though the penalties for arson may be particularly severe, there are defenses available to you to help fight the charges made against you.
Allow a knowledgeable legal representative with experience working in the local court system help you understand the law, penalties, and procedures that accompany a trial for arson. Though facing legal troubles can be frightening, there are resources available to you. Reach out today to speak with an attorney and begin building your defense.