Property Crime

Opinions in blog posts are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of 1.800.NoCuffs and The Kavinoky Law Firm.

The California Penal Code puts forth plainly the definition of arson. Arson occurs when a person willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of a structure, forest land, or property is guilty of arson. For the purposes of the arson statute, ‘maliciously’ is defined as, “a wish to vex, defraud, annoy, or injure another person, or an intent to do a wrongful act….”

If you have been arrested on charges related to property crimes, do not hesitate in seeking a free case evaluation from the Kavinoky Law Firm. The attorneys of The Kavinoky Law Firm have experience defending property crimes, and they are ready to speak with you regarding the facts of your case.

What the California law means is that it is illegal to set a fire to property. California law indicates that it is possible for a person to face criminal punishment for recklessly setting a fire or causing a structure, forest land, or property to be burned. In other words, a person who does not intentionally set fire to a structure or to a forest, and only recklessly causes the fire, may be charged with arson.

In one case where a person was charged with unlawfully causing a fire, a camper had built a fire to heat up some water. Later on, the camper extinguished the fire. Unfortunately, a spark from the fire was blown by the wind and that spark started a fire. In this instance, the camper was not convicted of the charges. Obviously if the camper simply let a fire burn in a national forest while he went for a two-hour hike, he may be closer to coming under the standard for recklessness. It takes a qualified attorney, with knowledge of the arson laws to create the best possible scenario for a person like the unfortunate camper who accidentally set some land on fire. With an inexperienced attorney, that camper may be trying to heat up some water in a state prison right now.


Vandalism is another property crime in California. Vandalism can take many forms, from expressions of religious or racial bigotry, colorful graffiti art, or just plain old property defacement. An experienced criminal defense attorney could be a great friend in getting through a case for vandalism.

The California Penal Code makes it illegal for a person to deface, with graffiti, any property that is not his or her own. Generally the fines that one pays when convicted of graffiti crimes are proportionate to the amount of damage that was caused by the paint. Just as it is an offense for a person to paint on walls that are not their own, it is illegal to use any sort of acid or other toxin that could destroy the surface of property, as well.

Another property crime includes a California hit and run. A hit and run occurs when the driver of one car damages the property of another and continues driving down the road, never stopping to assess the situation or exchange the necessary insurance information. A hit and run that only results in property damage is punishable by not more than six months in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $1000. A driver will also have to offer proof of restitution to the victim. Restitution is the money that covers the damages to the other person’s property. A hit and run where a person has been injured or killed carries other, more severe, penalties.

It takes an experienced attorney to successfully guide a person through a criminal prosecution. Oftentimes the stakes are high, but the solutions are available. Contact The Kavinoky Law Firm for a free consultation to have all of your issues dealt with in a caring and professional manner.

Darren Kavinoky
Darren Kavinoky
Founder at 1-800-NoCuffs
Darren Kavinoky is the founder of 1.800.NoCuffs–The Kavinoky Law Firm and is known as an award-winning criminal defense attorney.

The American Trial Lawyers Association has named him one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California” each year since 2007. Los Angeles magazine has identified Darren as a “SuperLawyer” every year since 2010. Darren received an “AV Preeminent Rating” by Martindale-Hubbell (a peer review ranking that signals the highest level of professional excellence and ethics); a perfect 10.0 Rating by (an independent attorney ranking site), and many other accolades.