December 26, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

You thought you were safe when you were joking with your coach and you said to him that if he had you do any more sit ups that you would “kill him”. Your buddies on the team may have thought it was a joke.

However, BE WARNED. If your coach takes it seriously your words can lead to you being arrested for a felony.

In California it is a crime under Penal Code Section 422 to make a “criminal threat” to another person. This crime is called “terrorist threats”. However, in reality a person can be arrested and sent to jail for making a threat to another person where the victim believes that the threat can be carried out. Physical contact is not required to be guilty of the crime. All that is required is that a person makes a statement to another person and the person believes that the threat is capable of being carried out.

Recently our law firm was hired by a school teacher with years of prior teaching experience. The teacher was arrested because it is alleged that he told one of his 6th grade students, “you better be transferred to another teacher next semester or I am going to kill you”. The teacher had to post $50,000 bail and is now facing up to three years in state prison. Does it seem to you that this should be a crime? Of course not. However, the laws have become much tougher recently in an attempt by the legislature to stop people from making threats to other people.

In every case the issue will be “was the accused being serious when he made the threat” as well as “was it reasonable for the victim to have felt that the threat could have been carried out”.

Please, before you make any threatening statements to anyone be aware that you may be subjecting yourself to arrest and jail time.

If you find yourself accused of the crime of terrorist threats, you should contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer at Wallin and Klarich. We can help you avoid the serious consequences that you would be facing.

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