Posted on: March 2, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneySimply making a threat to physically harm someone may be a crime in California. Specifically, the crime is making a threat to kill or injure another person in such a way that the person being threatened is put in a state of reasonably “sustained fear” for his immediate safety or for the safety of his or her family. The law requires “an immediate prospect of execution of the threat” for the threat to be a crime. The threat can be verbal, written, or even sent through e-mail or social media. Making criminal threats can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony under California Penal Code 422.

If you’re accused in Orange County of making a criminal threat, speak at once with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. You cannot be convicted of making a criminal threat if the threat was vague or ambiguous, if the recipient wasn’t in actual fear or if the fear was only momentary, if you merely made a threatening gesture, or if there was no threat and you have been falsely accused. To convict you, the prosecution must establish that the recipient of the threat actually feared for his or her safety or for the safety of his or her family. If the person didn’t take the threat seriously, no crime was committed.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor for making a threat, you face up to a year in jail. If you are convicted of a felony, you could serve up to four years in a California prison. If you use or brandish a weapon while making a threat, another year will be added to your sentence. Thoughtlessly saying something that you didn’t mean, in most cases, isn’t a crime, but if you are charged with making a criminal threat in Orange County, obtain legal representation at once and call an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.