Fire can cause significant damage to property, and in some cases, individuals can sustain serious injuries. Under California Laws, it is a crime to cause fire to a building, land, or other type of property. Often referred to as arson, the offense is defined by the criminal intent of the arsonist. When the prosecution is of the opinion that the arson is carried out with a reckless intention, the crime of reckless burning is charged. If you are facing criminal charges for reckless burning, you may want to consult with a skilled San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer.
Can I Go To Jail for Reckless Burning?
Reckless burning is considered to be the lesser of the two types of arson. Arson committed with a willful and malicious intent is always charged as a felony under California Penal Code. Whether reckless burning becomes a felony or misdemeanor will depend on the property that was the subject of the arson.
- Personal Property – If the property in question is classified as personal property, the offence is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. This offence has penalties of jail time or fine, and may even include a combination of both.
- Building or land – Fire recklessly set to a building or forest land can be considered a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor, the crime carries a maximum jail time of six months and vary between sixteen months to three years of prison time, if you are found guilty of reckless burning as a felony. If the building is inhabited, the jail time and prison time will increase respectively.
- Personal injury – If the arson causes what is considered to be great bodily injury to a person, then the charge can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. The latter carries a maximum jail time of one year, and the former can see a penalty as high as six years of prison time.
No one wants to go to jail, especially if you are innocent. If you are charged with reckless burning and facing a trial, you can provide evidence to support any of the available legal defenses for the crime. With a qualified San Diego reckless burning lawyer, you can put forward the following positions at trial to secure your freedom:
- It was an accident – For every crime, the prosecution must prove a criminal intention. In the case of reckless burning, there must be evidence that you acted recklessly. If the fire was started as a result of an accident, you will be found not guilty.
- Insufficient evidence – Eyewitness account is one of the best evidence a prosecution will have when pursuing a criminal matter. However, in a lot of reckless burning cases, there will be a great deal of circumstantial evidence, in an attempt to prove the required intent, as no one can really tell what is in the mind of the defendant. Your San Diego lawyer can argue that there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict you of the crime.
- False accusation – The greatest proof of innocence is to proclaim that you were not the author of the fire. In some cases, a prosecution’s witness might be covering up his or her criminal conduct, and is trying to put the blame on you. In other instances, it is a clear case of mistaken identity. Discrediting a witness’s testimony and presentation of independent information can be the foundation to advancing this defense.
Going to jail can change your life and significantly affect your loved ones who will be left to pick up the pieces. You want to make sure that you get the best San Diego property crimes lawyer to stand beside you in court and avoid jail time.
How the San Diego Reckless Burning Lawyers at McElfresh Law Can Help You
At McElfresh Law, our lawyers are good in what they do and our goal is to always find the best solution to your current legal problems. We have been lawyers for a number of individuals charged with reckless burning in San Diego, California, and our success record speaks for itself.
All criminal charges should be considered serious. But, when a charge, such as reckless burning, carries a penalty of prison time, you want to be even more serious about getting a good lawyer to be on your side. At McElfresh Law, we know the law and we understand the system. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and let us be your San Diego property crimes lawyer.