Do you need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Fresno … specifically, an arson attorney in Fresno? If you have been arrested or charged with arson, it is essential to obtain legal counsel for help right away.
When do you need an Arson Attorney Fresno?
Malicious arson, Penal Code 451, is when someone sets fire to any building, forest, land, or property willfully and maliciously. Arson even applies when someone sets fire to his or her own property if any of the following are true:
- The property is a building or other type of real estate.
- The property is set on fire to claim insurance.
- The fire causes injury to another person or someone else’s property.
Reckless arson, Penal Code 452, refers to unlawfully setting a fire recklessly. This means that the defendant was aware that his or her actions could cause a fire and those risks were ignored. The actions of the defendant must be far from how a reasonable person would act in the same situation.
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“After the first meeting with Mark, I knew we were in the right place. Mark was able to get answers and call all the right people to protect my child. We would never deal with the criminal justice system again with out Mark Broughton at our side. We are very thankful we found him and the matter with our son went away quickly.”
“Mr. Broughton is top notch. My son was facing a felony, strike charge. Mr. Broughton fought for my son’s pre-trial release against the recommendation of the probation department, and my son was able to come home. Today, the case was resolved and the outcome was minor in comparison to the charge. I highly recommend Mark Broughton!”
“He is an amazing lawyer, I had a near impossible felony case and he helped me bring it down to a misdemeanor. Amazing personality and a kind human being!”
“I highly recommend Mark Broughton. His expertise, professionalism, and empathy in our complex case gave us the feeling of confidence. I cannot begin to show or say how much we are grateful to you. Mark Broughton, you are truly an Angel in disguise. Again Thank You!”
“I was charged with 2 felonies and was at risk of jail time, losing my job and my children, basically my entire life. Mark worked closely with me and… I was able to plead no contest to 1 misdemeanor.”
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“Thank you Mark… for the excellent work you all did on my son’s cases and the on-going support you all showed my family and myself through this very difficult time in our lives.”
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Elements of Malicious Arson
In order to be guilty of malicious arson, the defendant has to have set fire or burned a structure, forest land, or property with willfull or malicious intent.
The fire doesn’t have to be completely destructive. Even if only a small area is damaged, it is still malicious arson.
What is a structure?
A structure is any building, bridge, tunnel, power plant, or commercial or public tent.
What is forest land?
Forest land is any brush covered land, cut-over land, forest, woods, or grasslands.
What is property
Property refers to any personal property. This could be a home, boat, bike, or even clothing.
To commit arson willfully means the defendant did it on purpose. Maliciously means the defendant intentionally committed a wrongful act with the intent to defraud, injure, or annoy someone else.
Elements of Reckless Arson
In order to be guilty of reckless arson the defendant has to have set fire to or burned a structure, forest land, or property recklessly.
According to Penal Code 452, recklessly means that the defendant was aware that his or her actions could cause a considerable and inexcusable risk of starting a fire, that risk was ignored, and acting in this way is far from the way a reasonable person would act in the same situation.
Penalties for Malicious Arson
Malicious arson is always a felony in California. The potential penalties depend on what was burned or set on fire, but they generally are punished by time in a California state prison. The potential punishments include:
- Malicious arson of personal property – 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years
- Malicious arson of a structure or forest land – 2, 4, or 6 years
- Malicious arson of an inhabited structure or property – 3, 5, or 8 years
- Arson that causes great bodily injury – 5, 7, or 9 years
In addition to California state prison time, there is a possible fine up to $10,000. There can even be an additional fine of $50,000 or double the amount gained or anticipated to gain from setting the fire if the fire was set for financial gain.
Malicious arson also counts as a strike in California’s Three Stike Law.
Penalties for Reckless Arson
Reckless arson is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor the penalties include up to 6 months in a county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
Reckless arson can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if the property that is burned is a structure or forest land or if it causes great bodily injury. The penalties vary depending on what was burned
- Reckless burning of a structure or forest land – Up to 6 months in a county jail (misdemeanor) or 2 or 3 years in a state prison (felony)
- Reckless burning of an inhabited structure or inhabited property – Up to 1 year in a county jail (misdemeanor) or 2, 3, or 4 years in a state prison (felony)
- Reckless burning causing great bodily injury – Up to 1 year in a county jail (misdemeanor) or 2, 4 or 6 years in a state prison (felony)
Have you been legally accused of committing arson? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an arson attorney in Fresno who understands your situation and the consequences you face.
Your Arson Attorney Fresno
I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with Violent Crimes such as Gang Crimes, Gun Charges, Domestic Violence, and Kidnapping to name a few.
About Mark Broughton:
Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:
Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.
Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.
- Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
- Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
- Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients. He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.
Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.
I began my legal career in San Diego where I practiced criminal law, civil litigation, and personal injury. After a very successful practice there for 17 years, my family and I moved to Fresno, California, in 1995. Since that time, I have practiced exclusively criminal law. I was the Chief Defense Attorney for a 17 attorney criminal defense law firm that handled 3-4,000 felony cases a year. I left that firm to associate and partner with a very successful criminal law practitioner where I am continuing my commitment help protect the Constitutional rights of my clients.
I estimate that I have conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
I have received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for my clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found my clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row. I have handled all kinds of criminal and related criminal proceedings, from violation of probation and parole hearings, DMV hearings, writs & appeals, and many other types of proceedings in the criminal process.
I have practiced all over California, in both state and Federal Court. I am qualified as a death penalty lawyer and am on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where I am regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court. One of my greatest pleasures over my long career has been to teach and train young lawyers and law students. Most of them have gone on to be successful lawyers in their own right, and have triumphantly represented their own clients in an honest and professional way.
Community Involvement & Family
I have been involved in many community organizations, taught classes at the local law school, been a Mock Trial Attorney Judge and team coach, served as Judge Pro-Tempore for the Fresno County Superior Court, given many seminars to other attorneys, and started an organization for criminal defense lawyers to share useful information among themselves. Above all, I enjoy helping reunite my clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them. This is particularly true where alcohol or substance abuse issues have ripped formerly close and loving families apart.
I have saved the many letters of appreciation from clients and their families to whom I have been fortunate enough to have been of service. It is most gratifying for me to see them get back together, overcome their difficulties and live happy and fulfilled lives. Helping people is, after all, what being a good lawyer is all about. I like going to football and baseball games, fishing, surfing, and going to Hawaii where I can get caught up on my reading list and swim in the warm waters of the Pacific. I love sharing the lives of my two children, two grandchildren and spending time with Andrea, my wife of over 30 years.
When you hire a criminal defense lawyer, you can expect to receive the benefit of their experience and expertise with criminal legal proceedings. Your lawyer will look at all the details of your case, form a strategy for fighting the charges against you, and speak for you to help you obtain the best possible outcome. You can expect your criminal defense lawyer to consider all the legal defenses for the charges you’re facing and explain all of your options. You should expect them to be ethical and honest with you, and for them to treat you with compassion and respect. You’ll get all of this when you hire Mark Broughton as your criminal defense lawyer, and you should accept no less from anyone else.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the criminal lawyer defending you and confident in their ability to get you the best outcome possible. You’ll have many questions running through your mind that you’ll want to ask. Here are 10 important questions that should be on your list:
- How long have you been a criminal defense lawyer?
- Do you have experience with the criminal charges I’m facing?
- Do you have experience with the court that’s handling/hearing my case?
- Do you hold any special certifications or qualifications that relate to the crimes I’m charged with?
- How big is your firm?
- Will I be working directly with you?
- Does my case have to go to trial?
- How much is working with you going to cost me?
- How often will I communicate with you?
- Why should I choose you to represent me?
If you’ve been accused or charged with a crime, you need an objective, experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you defend yourself. You can’t just ignore the charges and hope they’ll go away. They won’t. And you can’t expect a business attorney or family law attorney to have the same skills as a Criminal Law Specialist. If you’re facing criminal charges, that’s the kind of lawyer you need on your side. Even better is a criminal attorney who has experience with the specific charges — DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, gang crimes, weapons charges, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, murders, etc. — that you’re facing. Mark Broughton is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Criminal Law.
If you’ve been legally accused of a crime, arrested, or are facing criminal charges that may result in jail time or other legal consequences, you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The criminal defense process can be complex and challenging, and you want someone on your side to help you through it and protect your rights … right from the start. It’s important to take your charges seriously and to hire a criminal defense attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face. Don’t wait, and don’t just hope for the best. Get the help you need to get the best outcome possible.
Criminal defense lawyers look for nuances of evidence and details in your case that may prevent you from being found legally guilty of the crimes you’re charged with. The prosecutor has to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt … your criminal defense lawyer looks for things that support the reasonable doubt. They also look for procedures not properly followed and anything that they can use to give you a positive outcome. They look for holes and things missing in the case against you. A good criminal defense lawyer like Mark Broughton will look for everything they can use to fight for you.
Whether it’s better to plead or go to trial depends on the specific details of your case and is a question that must be answered on an individual basis. This is an important decision and should not be made without fully considering all the facts of your case. You also should not make this decision on your own. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which option gives you the best chance for the most positive outcome in your specific situation.
A plea hearing is when you respond “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest” to the charges against you. This happens in court before a judge, but it is not the actual trial itself. After you enter your plea, the judge will either release you with your promise to return to court for your trial, set a bail amount and send you to jail until the bail is posted, or send you to jail without a bail option. What the judge chooses is based on the seriousness of your charges, any past history, and a variety of other circumstances … including your plea itself. Your criminal defense lawyer will help you prepare for your plea hearing and explain all the options available to you in your specific case.
If you plead not guilty but are found guilty at trial, you will then receive sentencing. Sentencing may include imprisonment or probation, with or without fines. Even if you’re found guilty, your criminal defense lawyer can present arguments for a minimal or reduced sentence. If you are found guilty, you also still have the right to appeal your guilty verdict to try to get your conviction overturned. A good criminal defense lawyer will still fight to get you the best possible outcome.
If you go to trial and lose, the next step is the sentencing hearing. The sentencing hearing is when the judge will impose your sentence after hearing additional arguments from your defense lawyer and the prosecution about the appropriate penalty based on the proven facts and situation of your specific case. A good defense lawyer will still fight for you to get the best possible sentence for your circumstances. Even if you have been found guilty, you still have the right to fair sentencing, so it’s important to hire a defense lawyer who will continue to fight for you all the way through.
It’s not up to the defense lawyer if your conviction will be overturned. That ruling is made by the appellate court. But your defense lawyer can and should give you their professional opinion as to whether there are grounds for appeal and what the possible, and likely, results of an appeal may be. Other ways to overturn a conviction include filing a motion for a new trial or filing a writ of habeas corpus. Your defense lawyer can advise you on what approach is appropriate for your specific case.
Your defense lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence and get it thrown out, however, it’s the court’s decision whether to grant or deny the motions. There are different arguments a criminal defense lawyer can make to get evidence thrown out, and an experienced attorney like Mark Broughton will know which ones apply to your case and the evidence obtained against you. A good criminal defense lawyer will fight for you, including getting as much evidence thrown out as they can.