Criminal Threats Law in California - Penal Code 422 PC
It is illegal to threaten another person with a criminal act that will result in death or great bodily injury. Whether the threat is made in person or is written in a note or through any electronic means, once you have made a threat, you are likely to face criminal charges.
The penalties can include up to one year in jail or in state prison. If you are accused of making criminal threats in a domestic violence case, it is essential that you take action to defend yourself. Call upon our Los Angeles criminal attorney at Cron, Israels & Stark.
We are certified criminal law experts, and recognized as preeminent in criminal law by Martindale-Hubbell®, the most prestigious peer review rating service for attorneys. We know the law, and are very experienced trial lawyers.
You may have never made a threat, or your threats were made during a moment of anger, with no intention of carrying through. Nonetheless, you now are facing criminal charges, and without a well-crafted case for your defense, you could be convicted and forced to serve time. If charged with domestic violence, you need an attorney with experience and who knows the best defenses that will give you the best chance at avoiding a conviction.
The Basis of Charges of Criminal Threats
Under California Penal Code 422 PC, the basis of these charges is that the alleged victim sustained fear that his or her own safety or that of the children or others in the household due to the threat.
There are cases in which an angry altercation includes words that are later construed to have been a criminal threat. There are cases in which a defendant is accused of making criminal threats when no such event occurred.
A person who falsely accuses another of making criminal threats can face serious legal repercussions, and if you are a victim of false accusations, you may be able to get compensation to pay you for the costs you incurred, both financially and personally for the false accusations.
Every case has two sides. When our firm takes on a case involving charges of criminal threats, our job is to protect our client's rights, fight for his or her defense, and to fight for the best possible outcome. In order to be convicted of criminal threats, the prosecutor has to prove all the elements of the crime listed under CALCRIM 1300 Jury Instructions.
How this is achieved will vary, based upon the evidence that led to your arrest as well as the actual situation from your point of view. You have rights and we will zealously protect them at every part of the criminal justice process, from the first moment through to resolution.
There are various options that could be possible, including alternative sentencing, dismissed charges, an acquittal or reduced charges. Each case must be carefully assessed to determine the most effective defense strategy. We don't take these matters lightly, and we are fully aware of the damage that can be done to you, your reputation and your freedom should you be convicted.
Certain elements must be present for a charge of making criminal threats to be filed against you. Not only must the alleged victim fear for their safety, the threat made must be specific, and you must have communicated it either verbally or through email, or other written form of any type.
Even if you had no real ability to carry out a threat and you never had any intention to do so and were merely expressing anger, you could be facing criminal charges.
A related crime for criminal threats is making annoying phone calls described under California Penal Code Section 653m. This statute makes it a crime to make repeated or harassing phone calls, or phone calls that use obscene or threatening language. Many PC 653m criminal cases are related to domestic violence. Domestic violence offenses with firearms can result in assault with a deadly weapon charges.
Retain an Experienced Defense Lawyer
The defense strategy our legal team will employ will vary based upon what actually occurred. The alleged victim may not have actually been in fear at all, but is exaggerating the situation in order to use the legal system to harm you, or the fear was short term and not serious.
If convicted on a domestic violence related offense in a Los Angeles criminal court and placed on probation by the court, the judge will order you to complete a 52 week batterers' program known as the Batterers' Intervention Program (BIP).
A vague or ambiguous threat against another person can still lead to criminal charges, but the defense would involve exposing the fact that there was no specific threat and no intention to actually do anything that would harm your family member.
We are skilled litigators and trial lawyers, and you can be confident that we will work the long hours to craft a case for your defense, and have the ability to present a persuasive case in court. We are there to help you at every step of the process.