Criminal And Terrorist Threats | PC 422(a)

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Criminal And Terrorist Threats Defense Lawyers

Violent crimes are prosecuted aggressively throughout each of California’s criminal courts and the consequences are even more severe if the offense causes serious bodily injury. However, the violent crime of making a criminal threat (aka terrorist threat) can carry these very same consequences, despite the act resulting in no bodily injury. Defined under California Penal Code statute 422(a),

Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, is guilty of criminal threats.

Call Former Sr. Prosecutors Now At (888) 579-4844 For A Free Case Review

With almost 70 years of combined California criminal trial experience, criminal defense attorneys Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff have utilized their legal defense expertise as former LA senior prosecutors to defend all misdemeanor and felony criminal threats and domestic violence crimes in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. As a client of our Los Angeles criminal defense firm, you will be represented by a managing partner, either Mr. Takakjian or Mr. Sitkoff, not an inexperienced associate or contract lawyer. Most importantly, we make a concerted effort towards maintaining open communication with our clients to ensure they are not kept in the dark and receive consistent case updates. Please call us now at (310) 312-8055 or toll free at (888) 579-4844 for a free no-obligation consultation to review the facts of your case and each of your potential outcomes.

California Penalties For Criminal Threats

As a wobbler offense, criminal threats can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor, with the charge level heavily influenced by your prior criminal history of violence and the specifics of the threat itself. For example, a person with a prior conviction for PC 243(e)1 – domestic battery who now faces a new criminal charge of criminal threats for threatening to kill his/her spouse would likely face a felony charge. As a felony, criminal threats carries increased sentencing exposure compared to misdemeanor criminal threats, and conviction to a felony PC 422(a) can result in a Strike under California’s 3 Strikes Law. The following are the potential penalties you face if charged with felony criminal threats:

  • Up to 3 years in California State Prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • Formal (supervised probation)
  • Court ordered anger management counseling
  • Restraining order
  • Loss firearm ownership rights
  • Loss of professional licensing or credential
  • Strike

If charged with criminal threats as a misdemeanor:

  • Up to 1 year in County Jail
  • Up $1,000 fine
  • Informal or summary probation (unsupervised)
  • Court ordered anger management counseling
  • Restraining order
  • Loss of firearm ownership rights
  • Loss of professional licensing or credential

Examples of a Criminal Threat

The resulting judgment remains the same whether a threat involves actual bodily harm or creates a reasonable fear of impending physical injury. One aspect which remains critically essential is a verbal, written, or electronically communicated statement in which the threat is included. We realize being charged with such is quite serious and bears lasting consequences, so we want to help you understand what might be considered a criminal threat.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and the final determination lies in the hands of the prosecution, but possible threats could be:

  • Holding a dangerous weapon and issuing a conditional threat that you will use it if they don’t do as you say
  • Telling someone you’re going to come to their house tonight and beat them up
  • Saying you know where someone lives and plan to burn their home with them in it
  • Anger directed at someone you know stating you’re going to make them wish they hadn’t said what they said
  • Hinting that you’re going to physically assault someone if you have done it before
  • Saying you’re going to kill someone’s dog if they don’t stop its barking at night
  • Warning you’re going to get someone’s children taken away if they don’t support or agree with you

Evidence Required for a Criminal Threat Conviction

The key point in determining a conviction lies in the emotional impact on the victim. If there is evidence of reasonable fear, a felony or misdemeanor conviction is likely imminent. However, the evidence must be specific and particular, and it will involve the following:

  • The fear caused being sustained and not merely momentary
  • A credible threat, not an ambiguous threat such as, “You’ll be sorry,” with no details or specifics beyond that
  • Valid proof a reasonable person believed imminent harm would come to them or their family
  • Present and verifiable ability for you to carry out the threat
  • A threat made verbally, in writing, or through electronic communication
  • Clear intention you meant your statement to be understood as a threat
  • Connection to prior criminal history, if present

Should charges be brought against you, a confidential consultation with us will help alleviate many of your concerns and assist us in compiling a valid defense on your behalf.

Call Our Criminal Defense Firm Today For A Free Case Analysis

Being arrested is a terrifying and stressful experience, especially when it is your first criminal offense. We know you have numerous questions consuming your thoughts and you likely have not eaten nor slept well since your release. We also recognize this will likely be the most difficult experience you will ever endure. Therefore, our free consultation will focus on providing you with insight into the criminal process and the path ahead, so that you are prepared for what to expect and what your possible outcomes can be. Furthermore, we will patiently review each of the facts of your case and answer every one of your questions before discussing fees, since we do not employ a “one size fits all” approach to our defending our clients. It is a red flag if a criminal defense lawyer quotes you a fee before taking the time to gain some familiarity with your case. Contact us now at (888) 579-4844 for a free no-obligation case review.