Arson – 450-457.1

In California, arson is categorized as willful and malicious arson, or reckless arson. Punishment for arson depends on the property that was burned, whether or not someone was injured, and whether the fire was set intentionally or “recklessly”.

Willful or malicious arson is always a felony and could be punished by 16 months to eight years of prison based on the property burned. (Higher penalties for public lands or inhabited properties.) If there’s an injury, prison time ranges from five to nine years. Either also can carry fines of up to $10,000.

Reckless arson is considered a “wobbler” and can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, but regardless can be punished by six months up to six years in state prison depending on the type of land/property burned and if the fire caused bodily injury.

Additional fines and punishment could be added to the sentence if the arson is deemed aggravated and/or if the defendant is already a registered arson offender.