Arson and property crimes in California can be devastating for the victim and for the person accused of the crime. The destruction of property through fire or vandalism can mean the loss of someone’s home, sole means of transportation, or livelihood. The loss of property may take a financial toll or an emotional one — and in the case of arson, may cause personal injury or death.

Because of the potential for serious physical and financial harm caused by arson and other property crimes, California treats these as serious offenses. If you are facing charges, an experienced San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer will be able to protect your rights. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, either arson or vandalism can be charged as felonies in California, and cause ripple effects in your life for years to come if you’re convicted.

The possible effects of a conviction for arson or vandalism include:

  • Incarceration
  • Fines and/or restitution
  • A permanent criminal record that can affect your ability to get hired for employment or approved for an apartment
  • Possible loss or denial of a professional license
  • Possible denial of an immigration visa, green card, or American citizenship

However, there may be circumstances surrounding an arson or vandalism charge that call into question whether you actually had the intent to destroy property or were behaving recklessly. Acts of arson and vandalism often may be associated with mental illness and behaviors that someone can’t control, or with feelings of desperation when someone lands in dire financial straits. The arson or vandalism may represent a momentary lapse in judgment that isn’t reflective of your record and history, or you may have been charged with arson or vandalism because of an incident that was accidental.

Experienced San Diego Criminal Defense

If you’re facing an arson or vandalism charge, your best chance at avoiding a conviction will depend on getting representation from a good lawyer who is willing to hear your side of the story. An experienced San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer can look at your case with a trained eye and find the facts and evidence that help tell your story and either convince a prosecutor to negotiate or give a jury reasonable doubt for an acquittal.

We have experience representing people accused of arson and vandalism in the San Diego area. Because of that experience, we know how California law treats arson and vandalism charges, and how they’re handled by local courts and prosecutors. We also know how to work with courts and prosecutors to get you the best possible outcome for your arson or vandalism charge so that you can put this stressful and worrying time behind you.

We can represent you through every facet of the investigation and court case — from the time you’re first questioned by police until your case goes to a jury — to make sure your interests and rights are protected throughout the process.

Types of Charges We Handle

When you’re charged with a property crime in California, you likely have questions about your charge, what might happen, and your options as your case moves through the legal process. You also want to be sure that the San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer that you hire has the right background and experience to defend you. We have experience representing people charged with:

  • Arson — Arson is the willful and malicious burning of any building, forest, or property. It’s also a crime to recklessly burn any building, forest, or property. You can be charged with arson regardless of whether the property belongs to you if your intent was fraudulent or another person was harmed or their property damaged by the fire you set.
  • Vandalism — Vandalism is the act of maliciously damaging or destroying someone else’s property.
  • Reckless Burning — Reckless burning is a form of arson committed recklessly rather than willfully and maliciously.
  • Trespassing — Trespassing is a crime that involves intentionally entering someone else’s land or property without their permission or authorization.
  • Felony Trespassing— You may be charged with the crime of felony or aggravated trespassing when you enter someone’s land or property after threatening to injure a person.
  • Looting — Looting involves committing a theft or burglary during a declared state of emergency. Some forms of looting are punishable with a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

Charged with a Property Crime in California? Call a San Diego Property Crime Lawyer Today

Attorney Jessica McElfresh is a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are facing a property crime including- arson, looting, trespassing, reckless burning, or vandalism, you should reach out to a dedicated attorney at McElfresh Law. We can be reached at (858) 756-7107 or through our contact form.

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