The crime of Arson is the willful and malicious setting of a fire; or to cause the burning of any structure, forest land or property. Arson is a general intent crime and considers whether or not the accused was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to understand that his or her actions would cause a fire. Some examples of Arson are throwing a burning cigarette into dry grass or setting fire to a business to collect insurance money or setting a fire to another’s property as an act of revenge.
What does the prosecutor have to prove?
1. The defendant set fire to, burned, caused to be burned or aided, counseled, or procured the burning of an inhabited structure or inhabited property.
2. The defendant did so willfully and maliciously.
3. In doing so, the defendant caused an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn. [Cal Crim No. 1502]