According to California Penal Code 422, the crime of "criminal threats" occurs when:
- A person threatens to inflict serious personal injury or kill another person. The threat may be verbal, written, or communicated using any electronic format.
- Upon receiving the threat, the recipient fears for his or her safety, or the safety of family members.
- The threat must under circumstances that convey and immediate and specific intent to harm.
Legal Consequences for Making a Criminal Threat
Penal Code 422 is a wobbler, which means that you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. A judge considers your past criminal history and the seriousness of the threat when deciding how to sentence you. For a misdemeanor offense, you could receive a jail sentence up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both. A felony could land you in jail for up to three years and subject you to a $10,000 fine. Additionally, as a felony, this crime gives you one strike in accordance with California's Three Strike Law which means that your sentence will be doubled next time you're convicted of any felony.
Possible Defenses to a Criminal Threats Charge
If you made a vague threat and the victim exaggerated his or her sense of fear, you likely won't be charged with a crime. You could also be the victim yourself if someone made up the threat to settle some type of score with you. At the Law Office of Nicolai Cocis, we investigate these and all other possible defenses.
Please contact us to learn more about how our legal defense strategies in criminal threats cases. Our office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals charged with Criminal Offenses, DUI and Juvenile Matters in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Winchester, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas.