Criminal Threats Lawyer | Orange County

What Are Criminal Threats?

Under California Penal Code 422, a criminal threat is committed when you threaten to take action that puts another person in fear of great bodily injury or death. The threat must place the person receiving the threat in sustained fear for their safety and  Criminal threats can be made verbally or through written or electronic communication. This could include email, voicemail message, social media post, blog comment, text message, video, or fax. 

Some examples of conduct that could lead to a charge of criminal threats include:

  • Pointing a gun at a group of people and threatening to shoot them
  • Sending an email to your boss and saying that you were going to kill him for firing you
  • Texting your ex-husband to say that you’re going to have him beaten up 
  • Posting on social media that you were going to bomb a store
  • Commenting on a person’s blog post that you were going to stab them

Conditional Threats 

A conditional threat is a threat to do harm if the person being threatened does not comply with the person making the threat.  Depending on the circumstances conditional threats can be illegal as well and can carry additional charges for blackmail or extortion. 

For example:

  • You threaten your boss in an email that if he fires you, you will return to the workplace and shoot him. 
  • You threaten your ex spouse that if she doesn’t come back home, you will kill her. 
  • You say that you are going to beat someone up if he doesn’t pay you back your money

Prosecuting Criminal Threats | What Is Needed

In order to convict you of making criminal threats, the prosecution must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which include:

  • You willfully made a threat to cause great bodily injury or kill someone
  • The threat was made verbally, in writing or electronically communicated
  • You intended for your statement to be received as a threat
  • The threat was so “unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific” that it conveyed an immediate possibility of you carrying out the threat
  • The threat caused the alleged victim to be in reasonable fear for their own safety or their immediate family’s safety

Rest assured, with over 40 years of experience defending criminal threats charges, your experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney will fight aggressively to hold the prosecutor to their burden to prove a criminal threats charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Criminal Threats Penalties | What You’re Facing

If you’re facing a charge of criminal threats, you could suffer serious consequences that could have a negative impact on the rest of your life. Aside from the social and personal ramifications of being accused of making criminal threats, there are very serious legal penalties that the state can impose on you, if you are found guilty. 

These penalties include

Misdemeanor | Criminal Threat Penalties

  • 364 days in jail 
  • Fine of $1,000

Felony | Criminal Threat Penalties 

  • Three years in prison 
  • A strike on your record under California’s Three Strikes law

Given the severity of the charges and ease of prosecution, it is of the utmost importance to contact a skilled criminal threats attorney as soon as possible. We understand that you’ll likely have many other questions, and you don’t want to face the loss of your freedom and thousands of dollars in fines on your own. We will give you straightforward answers to your questions and stay by your side to defend you from beginning to end. Just give us a call today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation. 

Fight Back | Possible Defenses Against Criminal Threat Charges

Being charged with criminal threats in California immediately puts you or a loved one in an up-hill battle. With the help of our skilled team, we can even the playing field. Throughout our 40+ years of successfully representing clients all over Southern California, we have identified many defenses that often help our clients achieve the best possible results, much better than they would have gotten on their own without experienced counsel. Some effective defenses that we have identified include: 

No Intent Defense

One of the most common defenses for criminal threats charges is that you had no intent to make a threat. For example, you sent an email that contained a joke, and the alleged victim mistakenly perceived it as a real threat. Your defense attorney will gather evidence to support this claim, which may include the testimony of other witnesses and the details of your case. 

Credibility Defense

The credibility of the criminal threats allegations should always be examined. For example, the alleged victim says you called and made a threat to kill him. However, you simply called and told him to stop parking in your yard. Your defense attorney will look to find evidence, such as possible witnesses to the call, that show the alleged victim is lying. 

Not Directed At The Victim 

Your defense attorney may also argue that the threat was not directed at the victim. For example, you were having a conversation through text messages  with someone else, and you accidentally sent a text to the alleged victim, who perceived your message as a threat. Your defense lawyer will gather evidence such as your other text messages and the testimony of the other person you were talking with, in order to support this point in court. 

Vague Ambiguous Comments 

Another defense your lawyer may argue is that the comments you made were vague. For example, you told your co-worker to watch out. While he may have interpreted the comment as a threat, you actually meant that he might be fired

At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that every case is different. This is why we look closely at the details of each and every case to give our clients the best possible outcome. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Our skilled attorneys will give your case a thorough examination and tailor the defense to fit your situation. Moreover, we will listen to your concerns and address them in an honest, simple manner, so you know what to expect each step of the way. 

Hiring A Criminal Threats Defense Attorney | How We Can Help You

When dealing with such serious allegations, it is crucial to hire the best attorney you can find. At Wallin & Klarich criminal defense firm, we believe that there are four (4) key aspects that you, the client, should look for when hiring an attorney. 

  1. Experience
  2. Communication
  3. Track record
  4. Ethos – Credibility

Wallin & Klarich | 40+ Years of Experience Defending Criminal Threats Charges

Here at Wallin & Klarich, our team of highly-trained attorneys have over 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of criminal threats. This experience does not only mean that we are competent in the methodology behind defending criminal threats, but equally important, we know our way around the local courthouses and we know the local prosecutors. Not only do we know what we bring to the table, we also know what needs to be brought to the table. This sometimes overlooked, and often underappreciated knowledge makes it easier to craft a defense that gives you the highest chance of success possible. 

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way

Cases are won in the courtroom, but made in the office. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe that communication and transparency are a vital key to a successful case. With all the paperwork and legality, we have found that it is common for clients to get lost in the legal process and only have a vague idea of what is going on in their case. By keeping an open line of communication with our clients and walking side-by-side through all the steps of the case, we have found that our clients are not only happier, but receive a better outcome when communication is kept at the forefront of our efforts. 

Give us a call, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL and let’s open a line of communication and begin working towards obtaining the best outcome for your case. 

Track Record of Success | Wallin & Klarich History of Winning Cases

Words mean nothing if the outcome of the case is subpar. We are confident enough in our abilities to deliver the best possible outcome of our case that we invite you to hear from our past clients! 

Reputation & Ethos | Wallin & Klarich A Reputation You Want on Your Side

With an abundance of attorneys practicing in every area throughout California, it is often difficult to separate the noteworthy ones from the average. Luckily, you don’t have to. Throughout our years of representing criminal threat charges, the attorneys at Wallin Klarich have been featured throughout television, newspapers, and different websites. Don’t just take our word for it: give us a call at (877) 4-NO-JAIL and see for yourself why we have been one of the top choices in Southern California for people facing criminal threat charges for more than 4 decades!

Frequently Asked Questions

A threatening gesture by itself does not meet the elements required to convict you under PC 422. Threatening gestures can certainly be used to support a charge of making a criminal threat, but you must have made some kind of qualifying threatening statement orally, in writing, or through electronic communication along with the gesture to be convicted of making criminal threats.

A conditional threat could lead to a criminal threats conviction under PC 422 if it is reasonably conveyed to the victim that the threat is intended.

Yes, 422 PC states that for a threat to be charged as a crime, it must be specific rather than vague or ambiguous. Calling someone and saying in an ugly tone of voice “I know where you live” probably is too vague to warrant a conviction, but whispering “I’m going to kill you tonight” is likely specific enough to convict you of making a criminal threat.

Yes, you can be convicted of making a criminal threat if you never intended to carry out the threat. Threatening to commit a crime that will result in great bodily injury or death to the intended victim or to a member of his or her immediate family is enough to charge you under PC 422. It does not matter if you actually intended to or were able to make good on the threat.

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