Arson is a very specialized area. It is often handled by special groups of prosecutors who devote themselves to this particular crime and who have a more thorough understanding of the elements involved.
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Former Deputy DA • Certified Criminal Law Specialist
This means you need a defense attorney who is as specialized as the prosecutor. Mr. Loewenstein’s designation as a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law is one such assurance that he is more than equal to the task. Only ½ of 1 percent of all lawyers have been granted this distinction which is the mark of true excellence.
Arson is the intentional burning of your own property or someone else’s. It is a specific intent crime, meaning that you must intend the burning. If you are negligent and a structure burns, that is not arson. You may be liable for civil damages but it is not the crime of arson unless the intent to burn something is there. That is a crucial distinction and is something we keep foremost in our defense strategy.
Arson is covered by Penal Code Section 450 – 457.11. It can be a strike which means it qualifies for additional punishment. If you have a prior strike or strikes, it can lead to a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The laws regarding arson have many subtle nuances that only a skilled attorney will understand. At the Law Offices of Rudolph E. Loewenstein we understand these subtle distinctions. We also believe that a strong offense begins with a strong defense. We investigate early and thoroughly because we know just how serious the consequences of conviction can be.
When the fire department investigates a fire, they first try to find the point of origin or where the fire started. They then try to rule out natural causes, like a short in the electric wiring. Often times the fire department will look for foreign substances that may have been used to start the blaze. Next, they look for motivation for setting the fire. Is setting the fire an act of revenge? Could insurance fraud be involved? Many such questions can and should be asked but just because a fire occurs does not mean it’s a crime. If it turns out that the fire is the result of arson it does NOT necessarily follow that the one accused is the one who is actually guilty of the crime. It’s extremely important for someone who is being investigated to hire an experienced attorney to protect them as soon as possible to preserve evidence and to protect their rights.
Arson is often connected to other crimes such as insurance fraud or theft. The property may be more valuable when it is destroyed because of insurance involved, than it is standing. Because allegations of other crimes are often involved in charges of arson, it becomes especially important to have an attorney who is well versed in all kinds of criminal wrongdoing. After 30+ years handling only criminal cases, both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Mr. Loewenstein has an ability to handle every type of criminal charge. Claims of fraud and other wrongdoing are easily made by law enforcement and if you don’t have someone on your side very early on you are at a disadvantage and are at extreme risk of prosecution. Having an experienced defense attorney can lessen the chances of being charged at all.
If you have been accused of arson, you need a specialized attorney who is up to the task. Don’t let yourself be fooled into cooperating with law enforcement only to find that your cooperation has led you to be charged with a crime. Call us for a free consultation to find out how we can help before you do anything. If you have already been charged then we know how to defend you and how to find the faults in the prosecutor’s case. Let us help.