CRIMINAL THREATS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS

Posted on: August 14, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 422

Orange County criminal defense lawyerMaking terrorist or criminal threats is against the law in California. A terrorist or criminal threat is a threat to do violence to, hurt, injure, or kill others with the intention of frightening or intimidating others or sparking panic. Criminal threats are made in writing, by phone, electronically, or personally. Terrorist or criminal threats include phoning in bomb threats, sending threatening texts or emails, terrorizing or threatening anyone for a political or religious reason, threatening to hurt your spouse or partner or ex-spouse or ex-partner, or simply threatening a neighbor or anyone else with harm.

If you are arrested and charged with making a criminal or terrorist threat under California Penal Code 422 – even if you simply meant it as a joke and you were misunderstood – you’re going to need high-quality legal help fast. You’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer at once. Before you can be convicted of making a criminal threat, the state must prove these elements of the crime:

  • You intentionally threatened to kill or inflict physical harm on another person or persons, or you threatened violence against a building, structure, or facility.
  • You made the threat to be understood as a threat.
  • The threat conveyed seriousness and the immediate prospect of violence.
  • The threat was believed, and it caused sustained fear in the victim, beyond what is momentary, fleeting, or transitory.
  • You had the willingness, resources, and ability to carry out the threat.

In California, a criminal threat may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the gravity of the threat, its result, and the prosecutor’s discretion. To win a conviction, the prosecution must prove all five of the elements listed here. If you are charged with making criminal or terrorist threats in southern California, it’s entirely possible that you were innocent or that you were legally protected when you spoke – in self-defense or in the exercise of your freedom of speech. If you’re accused of making criminal threats in Orange County, now or in the future, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer promptly.

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