Threatening to hurt or kill someone is a crime, even if you do not follow through. While many people make threats, few realize that some threats can be crimes. California Penal Code 422 states that it is a crime to threaten to cause great bodily harm or death to another person.
Criminal threats can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the details of the case. Generally, if criminal threats are found to be serious, they are considered violent crimes and charged as felonies. If you were charged with making criminal threats, call us as soon as possible. We are here to help.
To convict you on charges of making criminal threats, the prosecution must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. They must prove the following elements:
- You willfully made a threat with the intention of serious harm or death. You must have intended to hurt someone and conveyed the threat to someone.
- You made the threat verbally, in writing, or through electronic communication. The prosecutor may gather evidence to try to prove that you made the threat.
- The statement was meant to be understood as a threat. The other person must have taken the threat seriously.
- You had the ability to carry out the threat. You must have had the means to complete the actions that you stated in the threat.
- A reasonable person would be fearful of his or her safety or the safety of others because of the threat. The other party was in fear as a result of the threat.
Whether the threat was made in writing, verbally, or online, if the other party heard it or understood it to be a threat, you could be charged with a crime. The prosecution must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of the crime. The prosecutor will determine whether to charge the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The penalties for making criminal threats vary greatly depending on whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges carry lower penalties than felony charges; however, you could still face time behind bars.
- A misdemeanor criminal threat conviction results in a sentence of a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. A felony criminal threat conviction sentence is up to three years in prison with fines of up to $10,000.
- California has a three-strike law. A felony criminal threat conviction is one strike. A second strike doubles the sentence if convicted.
- A third strike increases the penalty to 25 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Contact us as soon as possible to help you defend these serious charges.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal threat charges, call our firm today. We are here to listen. We are here to help, and we can help you fight for your future. Give us a call today.
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The Law Offices of David Lehr provides legal representation to individuals facing felony charges of criminal threats in Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo, California. No attorney or law firm can make any promises or guarantee an outcome for your criminal case. The contents presented on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Visiting this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
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