To be found guilty of arson, a person has to willfully and maliciously set fire to a structure, land of the forest, or property. As with many crimes, there is a mental state "element" of the offense. What this means is that a person must act intentionally to do a wrongful act or with unlawful intent to defraud, annoy, or injure someone.
Where this element does not exist, for example, if someone were to set fire to a structure where no malicious intent existed, the elements of arson would not be met.
Arson is punishable by up to nine (9) years and is considered a very serious offense, a strike offense, under the three strikes law.