Posts Tagged ‘ Criminal Threat ’

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS

Posted on: June 19, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 422

law3Even though Californians have the right to freedom of speech – and we exercise it ceaselessly – the free speech right is not absolute. Libel and slander, for example, are against the law. The legal system has always recognized some reasonable limits when it comes to freedom of speech. For example, if you threaten to kill or physically harm someone in California, it may be a serious crime. Making criminal threats can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony under California Penal Code 422. If you are arrested for making criminal threats in southern California, get the legal help you need by promptly contacting an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

A “criminal threat” in California is making a threat to kill or injure someone, without ambiguity and with enough specificity that the person threatened reasonably feels “sustained fear.” The threat may be spoken, written, or transmitted electronically. The communication must be meant as a threat, whether or not there’s an actual intention to carry out the threat. If the threat is vague, ambiguous, or ridiculous, no crime is committed. The law requires “an immediate prospect of execution of the threat” for the threat to constitute a crime. However, if you make a serious criminal threat and you then aggressively approach or intimidate the person you’ve threatened, the incident could be charged as an assault, which is an even more serious offense.

If you thoughtlessly said something that you didn’t really mean, or if someone has falsely accused you of making a criminal threat, you’ll need an attorney who can explain your side of the story and make certain that it is understood. In southern California, if you are arrested and accused of making a criminal threat, don’t try to explain anything to the police. Politely exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.