How to Beat Your Arson Case in Los Angeles – Penal Code Section 452?
When it comes to defending an arson case under California Penal Code Section 452, obviously you're going to want to have an attorney who has a lot of experience and has been down the road that you're about to travel because the prosecutors and judges and even the police treat these cases very seriously and will try to send an arson offender to prison for a long period of time.
So, really you have to figure out whether or not you've got a defense to the case and the defenses – when it comes to an arson case, or even any case in criminal defense – tend to center around stuff like whether or not the person is the one who actually committed the crime.
If you're not the person and the prosecutors don't have the evidence to prove it, then you'll go to jury trial and you'll be found not guilty. Or, sometimes I'm able to convince the prosecutors just not to file the case at all or dismiss a case that they filed once we show them that the client is not the one that is involved. Another angle is to say, listen this was a mistake, I didn't do this on purpose. I had no intent, in other words, to light this fire and commit this crime that you've charged me with.
That can be shown in a number of different ways and it really just depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. There's all sorts of different defenses that can be utilized, but it's obvious it's not a cookie-cutter thing.
You're going to use a defense that applies to your case and you're going to sit down and you're going to tell your attorney all the details about your case and you're not going to omit anything or you're not gong to put any type of a spin on the facts of the case because that's just going to put your attorney at a disadvantage against the prosecutor.
So, when it comes to dealing with an arson case, in addition to having a defense that makes sense based on the facts and evidence of your case, obviously you're going to want an attorney that can put everything together for you and truly defend your case. You want somebody who knows the system you're in, who's familiar with the judges, the prosecutors, and all the players in the criminal justice system that you find yourself in.
So, get somebody local. Get somebody who knows the ropes and has been down this path before and can get you the result you want. In addition to knowing the courthouse, the attorney obviously is going to know how to defend an arson case. If you can't defend the case that your client is charged with and you don't have experience with it, then obviously you're not going to get the result that they must have. Your attorney should have been involved in other cases similar to yours and gotten good results on your behalf.
Defining a Win in an Arson Case
Most people think that a win is defined in any criminal case by either the prosecutor deciding not to file the case, to dismiss the case, or you go to jury trial and you're found not guilty and then you've won your case. Unfortunately, that's not the majority of cases that happen in criminal defense.
Most of the time the prosecutors are not going to file a case unless they've got the evidence on it because they're going to be embarrassed if they go to trial – especially in an arson case – which is probably going to get publicity, and they're beat and embarrassed and the person is found not guilty.
The public is going to start to say, well why were you prosecuting that person in the first place? What kind of a justice system is this? So, they don't typically choose cases unless they've got good evidence against the person. So, that's one of the first things you should do when you sit down with your attorney is to define what a win is.
Obviously, everybody wants to win where they're found not guilty and they get to go home, and they're done with the case.
But if that's not realistic in your case and they've got the evidence to show that you committed a crime, or the crime or crimes that you've been charged with, then you've got to come up with another strategy. And that's why when people walk into my office and we talk about the case – I look at them – I say, so what do you want out of this case?
Here's what they've got. Here's what we can argue. What do you realistically want and then we talk about it. Once we have a definition of what a win is in their particular case, then we set about to do the investigation and to put the stuff together that will show the prosecutors that they are entitled to get what we want.
So, once we've defined what a win is, now we also have to define how are you going to help me get you the result that you want What is a realistic result and what am I going to do – what plan am I going to execute towards getting that result and then we're going to work together and we're going to put everything together and then I'm going to set about getting the result that we both agreed is the best in your particular circumstances, and that takes hard work.
That takes experience, know how, and obviously you're going to have to assist as well because I find the client sometimes can come up with some good stuff that can be utilized because they know their case. Obviously, they're trying to think outside the box as well because they want the result as well.
So, once you define your win, you've got your criminal defense attorney who knows what they're doing and can execute the plan, then you go to work, and you do everything possible to get the result.