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Arson is a willful act in which a person maliciously burns or causes to burn a property. Arson crimes vary in their seriousness and degree of damage. Any act of maliciously or recklessly burning or charring of a property is pursued as a criminal offense in state of California.
Arson and reckless burning is an extensive term and covers all the different types of burning of property, land, forest or boat. However, the common arson offenses are as follow,
The California Penal code 451 and 452 highlighted the arson and reckless burning offense and describe penalties for these offenses.
PC 451: “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.”
PC 452: “A person is guilty of unlawfully causing a fire when he recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property.”
According to PC 451, 452, both arson and reckless burning are charged as felony and are punishable by law. In both arson and reckless burning cases, there is an important role of intent. What is the intent of the person when setting the property on fire? The arson or reckless burning charges are proven only if the person had malicious intent or recklessly set fire to property or structure.
Arson or reckless burning is investigated by special forensic officers through a range of physical and chemical tests. The investigators collect evidences from the site through physical examination as well as chemical tests to determine the cause of fire and identify the persons of interest. Therefore, the investigation of arson is a highly specialized field with forensic evidences to prove the charges.
If you or your loved one is fighting arson charges, you need immediate help of an experienced and knowledgeable defense lawyer. It is not enough to hire a lawyer with knowledge of laws, but you should hire someone that understand the complexity and nature of the arson or reckless burning case.
At the law office of David S. Chesley, we have a team of former investigators and prosecutors that understand the science and technicalities of an arson case. Our aggressive defense representation focuses on loopholes in the investigation and insufficiency of evidence. We have dealt with hundreds of arson cases in our life as defendants and former prosecutors and our experience reflects itself in our success rate and satisfied clients.
The penalties for ‘malicious’ arson charges are
Setting fire to another's property: up to 3 years in prison
Setting fire to forest land: up to 6 years in prison
Setting fire to an inhabited structure: up to 8 years in prison
Serious bodily injury as a result of arson: up to 9 years in prison
The penalties for "reckless" charges arson in California can include:
Setting fire to another's property: up to 1 years in county jail
Setting fire to forest land: up to 3 years in prison
Setting fire to an inhabited structure: up to 4 years in prison
Serious bodily injury as a result of arson: up to 6 years in prison
California penal code imposes strict penalties for arson charges in the state. Arson penalties can be enhanced from three to five years in presence of following conditions,
If you are facing arson charges, you can immediately consult the law office of David S. Chesley and seek legal representation. Our aggressive approach to defense will help you in successfully fighting the charges.
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Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.