CALCRIM No. 1520. Attempted Arson (Pen. Code, § 455)
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)Download PDF
(iii) Attempted Arson
1520.Attempted Arson (Pen. Code, § 455)
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with the crime of attempted
arson [in violation of Penal Code section 455].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant attempted to set fire to or burn [or counseled,
helped, or caused the attempted burning of] (a structure/forest
2. (He/She) acted willfully and maliciously.
A person attempts to set fire to or burn (a structure/forest land/property)
when he or she places any flammable, explosive, or combustible material
or device in or around it with the intent to set fire to it.
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.
[A structure is any (building/bridge/tunnel/power plant/commercial or
[Forest land is any brush-covered land, cut-over land, forest, grasslands,
[Property means personal property or land other than forest land.]
New January 2006; Revised September 2018
The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction defining the elements of the
crime. Attempted arson is governed by Penal Code section 455, not the general
attempt statute found in section 664. (People v. Alberts (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1424,
1427-1428 [37 Cal.Rptr.2d 401] [defendant was convicted under §§ 451 and 664;
the higher sentence was reversed because § 455 governs attempted arson].)
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 455.
• Structure, Forest Land, and Maliciously Defined. Pen. Code, § 450.
• This Instruction Upheld. People v. Rubino (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 407, 412-413
[227 Cal.Rptr.3d 75].
5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against
Property, §§ 268-276.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143, Crimes
Against Property, § 143.11 (Matthew Bender).
1521-1529. Reserved for Future Use
CALCRIM No. 1520 ARSON