Murrieta – Temecula criminal defense attorney represents individuals charged with arson. You can reach Karen E. Lockhart at (951) 698-519. If you have been accused of, or charged with the crime of arson, you are facing extremely serious charges. Don’t face the criminal justice system alone. Consultations are available by telephone or in person, weekends and evening appointments are available, and are always free and confidential.

Arson (Penal Code section 451) is the deliberate burning of property.

Arson is defined as setting of a fire to burn, or the actual burning of, any building, forest land, or other property. Or, simply put, the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property.


Arson that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years. Arson that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years. Arson of a structure or forest land is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years. Arson of property is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years.

In addition to potential incarceration, you will also be required to pay restitution. Restitution can be as little as a few hundred dollars, to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the damage caused. Arson is also considered a crime of moral turpitude and can have an adverse affect on a professional license, make it extremely difficult to obtain employment, and result in deportation if you are not a citizen.


If you are charged with the misdemeanor crime of intentionally setting a fire that results in relatively minor damage or felony arson charges, call an experienced attorney immediately. Some of the defenses to arson are:

  • The fire was set by accident and not maliciously set.
  • You didn’t set the fire.
  • You weren’t at the scene of the incident and the accusations are false.

You need an experienced attorney who understands the elements of arson, in addition to constitutes a defense. For example, the unintentionally, but reckless setting of a fire that causes damage may be enough to satisfy the intent element. On the other hand, the intentional lawful setting of a fire that got out of hand, such as a campfire, a barbeque, or a backyard fire pit, and burned someone’s property or a residence is not necessarily arson, if the elements are not met.

Arson Defense Attorney

An experienced, knowledgeable attorney investigate the facts surrounding the fire and will work to get your charges dismissed if the elements are not met, or negotiate your case for a conviction to a lesser offense, or even mitigate the punishment.

Arson is an extremely serious crime and you should seek experienced competent legal advice as soon as possible. Defense attorney Karen E. Lockhart has the knowledge and the experience you need. Contact us at 951-698-5191. You need an attorney who has the experience to win your case. The prosecutor in your case will be an experienced attorney. Why shouldn’t you have one?