California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

1520. Attempted Arson

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(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
prove that:
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
public tent).]
[Forest land is any brush-covered land, cut-over land, forest, grasslands,
or woods.]
[Property means personal property or land other than forest land.]
New January 2006
Instructional Duty
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.
Secondary Sources
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against
Property, §§ 238–242.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143,
Crimes Against Property, § 143.11 (Matthew Bender).
1521–1529. Reserved for Future Use