Uttering criminal threats in California can have serious legal repercussions. The state of California handles criminal threats as either a misdemeanor or felony. But what constitutes a criminal threat?
California Penal Code Section 422, reveals that simply telling someone you will kill them (or cause bodily harm) is not enough to constitute a criminal threat. There are several components to a criminal threat under California law. First, you have to communicate (speak, write or electronically send) the threat (whether you intend to carry out the threat is irrelevant). Second, the stated threat is clearly understood as such by the recipient. Third, your threat is credible (e.g. threatening to kill someone if they get married and have children with someone else, or if they join a bluegrass band in five years are not examples of a criminal threat; credible instances of conditioned threats, however, are illegal). Fourth, your threat must cause sustained fear. If the person you utter an otherwise credible threat to repeatedly drives past your residence, then it becomes hard for a prosecutor to prove that the victim was actually in fear. Without fear, a threat cannot be a criminal threat.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will examine each aspect of the alleged threat for weakness. Not all threats are criminal threats, and therefore any person who charged with a criminal threat in Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Banning, Hemet, Corona, Winchester or Riverside should obtain assistance from an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact my office immediately to schedule a free consultation directly with me.