Arson Lawyer in Los Angeles

Arson is a serious crime, and arson charges are dealt with quite severely by the state of California. If for any reason you are charged with arson in the southern California area, you’ll need the professional knowledge and skills of a reputable Los Angeles arson lawyer. With more than a decade of experience and an impressive track record for success, Douglas Miranda is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with arson, also called fire-raising, under California law.

Southern California is known for its warm and sunny days, but that warmth often comes with a price because it creates fire hazards. While wildfires are a common California occurrence, many of these life-threatening and property-destroying fires are purposefully ignited by arsonists. These arsonists may be bored attention-seekers, professional arsonists torching properties as part of an insurance fraud scheme, or even firefighters seeking extra work or “hero” status for themselves. Whatever the circumstances, the damage from a fire can be devastating and the fire can cause great bodily injury to civilians or first responders, such as the fire department, police and EMTs.


The state of California recognizes Arson Penal Code Sections 450-457.1 and does not take it lightly. Section 451 specifically reads: A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property. Further, this penal code clearly lays out the punishment of imprisonment for such a crime.

Another California Penal Code specifically discusses reckless arson. This crime can be described as recklessly setting fire to a building, land or other property. The difference between arson and reckless arson is the defendant’s state of mind. To commit arson, you person must have malicious intent and be aware that he or she is about to set a fire. To commit reckless arson, the person must be acting recklessly at the time of the fire.

According to California law, reckless is being aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of starting a fire and ignoring that risk. Reckless behavior must be considered a gross deviation from how a reasonable person would behave in the same situation.

Arson is a serious crime, and arson charges are dealt with quite severely by the state of California. When charged with arson in Los Angeles, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You need a knowledgeable arson lawyer who has a high success rate for the crime of arson or you may risk serving many years in prison, along with serious fines and restitution which can total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you are innocent of an alleged arson crime then the charge needs to be dismissed and if you are guilty, the charge can be reduced. Fires are big business in southern California because of the raging wildfires that cause so much destruction and damage.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much for a prosecutor to file an arson charge, even with the weakest evidence.

Arson is a serious felony charge that can be filed as a state crime or even as a federal crime depending upon what was damaged by the arson. You need to put someone with experience to work for you. Have your case assessed, inform you of your legal options, and begin developing the most effective possible defense on your behalf. You only have one shot at this so make it count.


The penalties for arson vary depending on the type of property that was burned, whether people were injured in the fire, and your criminal history. You may receive up to three years in prison for committing arson on personal property, six years if the property was a structure or forest land, eight years if the property was an inhabited structure, and nine years if the fire caused great bodily harm. Regardless of the type of property, you may also have to pay fines of up to $10,000. If the prosecution can prove that you set the fire for financial gain, you could face an additional fine in the amount of either $50,000 or double the amount you were expecting to gain from the fire, whichever is larger.

If you are convicted of reckless arson, you may face up to three years in state prison if the property was a structure or forest land, up to four years if it was an inhabited property, and up to six years if it caused great bodily harm.

Prosecutors may seek to increase your charge to aggravated arson if you have a prior conviction on your record or your crime meets the other criteria as defined by California law. In this case, you may receive an additional five years on your sentence.


The State of California and its taxpayers spend massively to contain and control wildfires. Because big fires are sometimes in the news for weeks, the political pressures to find those responsible are intense. Suspects are sometimes “rounded up” on the slimmest evidence. It’s easy to be caught up in a broad investigation and targeted as a potential or likely suspect. You may even be responsible for a fire. Guilty or innocent, if you’re charged with arson, you’re going to need experienced legal help for a Los Angeles arson lawyer.

Arson is intentionally setting fire to brush, trees, forest lands, or any kind of real property like buildings or other manmade structures. Homes and commercial buildings are often the targets. Presumably, an arsonist has a personal motive (typically revenge or financial gain) for starting a fire. Arson is a serious felony charge that can be filed as a state crime or even as a federal crime depending upon what was damaged by the arson.


If you’ve been charged with arson, put a knowledgeable arson lawyer in Los Angeles to work for you in your defense. Once we review your case, Douglas Miranda will figure out the best action to move forward with for your defense. Contact one of our criminal defense attorneys, a call 213-255-5838 or send us an email for a consultation.