What is a Criminal Threats, Penal Code, PC 422?

If you are charged with Criminal Threats in the Tulare County Courts (Visalia and Porterville) or Fresno County Courts or Kings County Courts (Hanford or Corcoran) you need a trial attorney to help defend you.

People often say things that that don’t mean out of anger of frustration. It is common for angry confrontation or dispute for someone to day “I want to kill you” or “I’m going to kick your ass.” When these statements are made or allegedly made and the police are involved it is common for the person to be charged with a violation of PC 422. There a few important things to know about Criminal Threats (PC 422) First of all PC 422 can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. If it is charged as a felony, it is a strike offense and can result in a prison sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years. As a misdemeanor you can be imprisoned for up to one year in the county jail.

To prove a violation of Criminal Threats the prosecution must prove the following things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant willfully threatened to unlawfully kill or unlawfully cause great bodily injury
  • The defendant made the threat the victim
  • The defendant intended that his statement be understood as a threat.
  • The threat was so clear, immediate, unconditional, and specific as a serious intention and the immediate prospect that the threat would be carried out;
  • The threat actually caused victim to be in sustained fear for their own safety or for the safety of his or her immediate family
  • The fear was reasonable under the circumstances.
  • In deciding whether a threat was sufficiently clear, immediate, unconditional, and specific, consider the words themselves, as well as the surrounding circumstances.
  • Sustained fear means fear for a period of time that is more than momentary, fleeting, or transitory.

Lesser Included Offenses

Attempted Criminal Threat. See PC 422

Threatening a public officer PC 71

About the Author: Christopher Martens is an attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher Martens at CMLawGroup Naturally this article is connected to Christopher's Google+ profile.