California citizens have a right to have freedom from violence. This right is safe guarded by laws that cover many different kinds of harm, threats to harm included. Even if you never actually hurt someone, you can still be charged with criminal threat if you make a threat to cause serious bodily harm or death to someone, whether or not you actually intended or planned on carrying out that threat. This charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony; it is a "wobbler" conviction and so what you are charged with depends on the circumstance of the threat and your criminal history. The prosecution will consider your intent, the reasonability of the threat, the capability you had to follow through on the threat, the way in which the victim interpreted the threat and their reaction to it and what the threat itself was. Needless to say, there is the opportunity to dispute or challenge any of the above elements if you feel they were unfairly determined at your sentencing hearing. Having skilled legal counsel on your side can help you in this scenario. If convicted, you could face 1-3 years in jail: more if a weapon or gang involvement was part of the threat. As you can tell, a threat is not just a threat in the California justice system. Threats can lead to serious injury or death and it is when they aren't taken seriously that people can be hurt when no preventative measures are in place. California's criminal threat statute, PC 422, is one such preventative measure that takes seriously any reasonable threat. Even if the threat is done electronically, where it is easier to say what you want, that can be held against you. Unfortunately, internet threats are all too common so they can seem benign but can still lead to a criminal conviction. To be safe, never make a threat to harm someone either in person or electronically and if you do and are accused, consult with an experienced attorney to strategize a defense.
Are you in the Tulare, Kings or Fresno area and are being accused of making a criminal threat? The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can expertly help you through the process of facing these charges and defending yourself in court. Experienced in criminal defense, Christopher Martens understands the situation you are in and will work tenaciously for your case. Call our offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] today for a free consultation.