Criminal threats or “terrorist threats” is a serious crime in California and is defined as “Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety.”
Is Criminal Threats a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Criminal threats is a “wobbler” under California law which means that it can be charged by the Prosecution as a felony or a misdemeanor. It is important know that this is true regardless of whether you were initially arrested on this charge as a felony or misdemeanor. There have been cases where the police have arrested people on misdemeanor criminal threats charges and the prosecution decided to file the case as a felony and vice-versa. The prosecution has absolute discretion in whether to file this charge as a felony or misdemeanor and will consider factors such as the seriousness of the specific case and the defendant’s criminal history.
Felony Criminal Threats is a “Strike” Offense Under California Law
If charged as a felony then criminal threats is a “strike” offense in California and if convicted of this felony charge the defendant is looking at having to serve up to 85% of his sentence if sent to prison. Punishment for future felonies would also be doubled if convicted of this charge and the defendant would also be 1/3 of their way to a potential 25-life three strikes case in the future.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
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