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.