March 8, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

If you have been charged with giving a criminal threat under California Penal Code section 422 you face the possibility of serious consequences, including jail time and substantial fines. It is important that you contact a Ventura criminal threats attorney immediately if you have been charged with giving a criminal threat.

In order for you to be convicted of making a criminal threat under California Penal Code section 422 the prosecution must prove:

– You willfully threatened to kill or seriously injure another person;
– You intended your oral, written, or electronic communication to be received as a threat;
– The threat was so clear that it communicated to the victim that the threat could possibly be carried out immediately; and – The individual that was threatened reasonably feared for his or her safety or for the safety of his or her immediate family.

The criminal threats charge is a “wobbler” which means that the prosecution can charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. Whether the prosecutor chooses to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony depends largely on the seriousness of the threat.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor criminal threat you will face up to one year in county jail in addition to a fine of up to one-thousand dollars ($1,000). If you are convicted of a felony criminal threat you can be sentenced to up to three years in the state prison. In addition, a felony conviction for a criminal threat will act as a strike on you record according to California’s Three Strikes law.

In addition to the general sentencing and punishments associated with a felony charge for making a criminal threat, California law also provides an enhancement if the threat was made as a result of your participation in a criminal street gang. Under California Penal Code section 186.22, if your felony criminal threat was made at the direction of, or as a result of your association with a criminal street gang in order to assist in any criminal conduct of you or other gang members you can be sentenced to two, three or four more years of imprisonment
It is possible that you can be placed on probation instead of being sentenced to serve jail time if you are convicted of making a criminal threat. The judge may also require you serve a jail sentence up to one year as a condition of the probation. If you are placed on probation for felony probation you likely will be assigned to a probation officer who may arrest you at any time if he/she believes that you have violated the terms of your probation.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for making a criminal threat it is vital that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable Ventura criminal threats attorney. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience defending clients accused of making criminal threats. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, San Diego and Orange County and are available to take your call. To clarify any questions you may have or to inquire about your particular criminal threats case, call the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich at (888) 280-6839. We will get through this together.

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