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

Orange County criminal defense attorneyYour right to freedom of speech is fully protected in California and everywhere else in the United States. That means you freely have the right to express any opinion, no matter how extreme or unpopular that opinion might be. What you may not do, however, is threaten violence or intimidate someone by threatening violence. That’s called making criminal threats. It’s a crime in California, and if you’re charged with making criminal threats, you’ll need the help of an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. One man from La Mesa recently learned that no matter how strongly you feel or how right you may think you are, criminal threats are not tolerated by California courts.

John David Weissinger, who telephoned threats to the San Diego and Washington offices of a prominent Islamic group after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France in January, pleaded guilty to a felony in August. Weissinger, 54, pleaded guilty in San Diego County Superior Court to the felony charge of making a criminal threat determined to be a hate crime, according to Reuters. Making “criminal threats” can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony under California Penal Code 422. The crime is making a threat to kill or injure someone unequivocally and with enough specificity that the person receiving the threat is put in a state of reasonably “sustained fear” for his or her immediate safety or the safety of his or her family. The threat may be verbal, written, or electronically transmitted.

Weissinger, who lives in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, made the threats a week after militants invaded the Paris offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7 and killed 11 people. On January 15, Weissinger left messages at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offices in San Diego and Washington threatening a retaliatory attack. “He had consumed copious amounts of alcohol. He acted on his drunken emotions without really thinking it through,” Weissinger’s attorney said. If you are charged with making criminal threats in Orange County, whether you’re innocent or guilty, you’re going to need aggressive defense representation fast. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. If you are arrested for making criminal threats, get the help you need and make the call as quickly as possible.

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