Reckless Burning in California
Forest fires occur in California and this year has been particularly challenging and tragic for many of the Californians who have lost their homes and/or have had to evacuate. Given the ecosystem and nature in California, it is imperative that everyone follows the rules regarding legal fires. Those found guilty of reckless burning will face serious consequences. If you have been accused of reckless burning, please contact us today and our experienced team of lawyers will help you.
The Elements of the Crime
Reckless burning can apply to forest fires, but it also relates to property and structures in California. Furthermore, it is classified as arson. This article will cover information under California Penal Code Section 452; however, there are many other applicable arson crimes. Under this section, the prosecutor must prove the following set of legal elements: the defendant set fire to a forest, structure, or property; the defendant acted recklessly, which means they did not act in such a way as a reasonable person. The defendant would have known of the risks posed by the burning of the forest, structure, or property.
Penalties for Reckless Burning
As mentioned above, arson can have other penalties as well, such as malicious arson, which are quite severe. In the case of reckless burning, if a defendant is found guilty, they can face either a misdemeanor or a felony and this is dependent on the circumstances of the crime. Misdemeanors will usually require several months in jail whereas felonies can result in years of prison time. Furthermore, arson is included in the Three Strikes Law and any additional penalties can apply as a result. Therefore, if you have been accused of reckless burning, immediately contact us for legal guidance.