CALCRIM No. 1502. Arson: Inhabited Structure or Property (Pen. Code, § 451(b))
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)Download PDF
1502.Arson: Inhabited Structure or Property (Pen. Code, § 451(b))
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with arson that burned an
(inhabited structure/[or] inhabited property) [in violation of Penal Code
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant set fire to or burned [or (counseled[,]/ [or]
helped[,]/ [or] caused) the burning of] (a structure/ [or] property);
2. (He/She) acted willfully and maliciously;
3. The fire burned an (inhabited structure/[or] inhabited property).
To set fire to or burn means to damage or destroy with fire either all or
part of something, no matter how small the part.
Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on
Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful
act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to defraud, annoy, or
injure someone else.
Astructure is any (building/bridge/tunnel/power plant/commercial or
A (structure/[or] property) is inhabited if someone uses it as a dwelling,
whether or not someone is inside at the time of the fire. An (inhabited
structure/[or] inhabited property) does not include the land on which it
[Property means personal property or land other than forest land.]
New January 2006; Revised February 2013, August 2016, March 2017, September
2019, April 2020
The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction defining the elements of the
If attempted arson is charged, do not instruct generally on attempts but give
CALCRIM No. 1520, Attempted Arson. (Pen. Code, § 455.)
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 451(b).
• Inhabited Defined. Pen. Code, § 450; People v. Jones (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d
543 [245 Cal.Rptr. 85].
• Inhabitant Must Be Alive at Time of Arson. People v. Vang (2016) 1
Cal.App.5th 377, 382-387 [204 Cal.Rptr.3d 455].
• Structure and Maliciously Defined. Pen. Code, § 450.
• To Burn Defined. People v. Haggerty (1873) 46 Cal. 354, 355; In re Jesse L.
(1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 161, 166-167 [270 Cal.Rptr. 389].
LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES
• Arson. Pen. Code, § 451.
• Attempted Arson. Pen. Code, § 455.
• Unlawfully Causing a Fire. People v. Hooper (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 1174,
1182 [226 Cal.Rptr. 810], disapproved of in People v. Barton (1995) 12 Cal.4th
186 [47 Cal.Rptr.2d 569, 906 P.2d 531] on its holding that failure to instruct on
this crime as a lesser included offense of arson was invited error because defense
counsel objected to such instruction; People v. Schwartz (1992) 2 Cal.App.4th
1319, 1324 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 816].
Defendant’s conviction for arson of an inhabited structure was proper where he set
fire to his estranged wife’s apartment several days after she had vacated it. Although
his wife’s apartment was not occupied, it was in a large apartment building where
many people lived; it was, therefore, occupied for purposes of the arson statute.
(People v. Green (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 369, 378-379 [194 Cal.Rptr. 128].)
Dual Convictions Prohibited
A single act of arson cannot result in convictions under different subdivisions of
Penal Code section 451. (People v. Shiga (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 466, 475 [246
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against
Property, §§ 268-276.
5 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 91,
Sentencing, § 91.47 (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143, Crimes
Against Property, § 143.11 (Matthew Bender).
1503-1514. Reserved for Future Use
ARSON CALCRIM No. 1502