A charge of criminal threats in Los Angeles can have serious and long-lasting consequences if you are convicted of this crime. A criminal threat means you threaten to cause great bodily injury or death to a person.
Each of the following elements must be proven by the prosecution in order for you to be found guilty of the crime of criminal threats.
- The threat is communicated verbally, in writing, or electronically; and
- The person(s) you threaten has cause to be reasonably in fear for his or her safety or for the safety of that person’s family; and
- The threat is made unequivocally, unconditionally, or immediately; and
- The threat is made with specific intent.
It does not matter if you have the ability or actually intended to carry out the threat. The mere fact that you threatened someone with the potential for harm may be sufficient to convict you.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want you to understand some of the things you should expect if you are charged with this serious crime.
What Should You Expect if You are Charged with Criminal Threats in Los Angeles?
- Criminal threats is a “wobbler” offense. Depending on the circumstances of your alleged crime and your criminal history (if any), the prosecutor can elect to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony violation of criminal threats. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in jail. A felony conviction carries up to three years in prison with a one-year enhancement added consecutively if you used a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.
- You can be sentenced separately for each threat you make. You can be sentenced separately whenever you make a threat:
- More than once against the same person; or
- Against more than one person; or
- For different objectives.
- A felony conviction for criminal threats is a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. A felony conviction of criminal threats counts as a “strike” because it is considered a serious offense in California. This means you would have to serve at least 85 percent of your prison sentence prior to becoming eligible for release on parole. Additionally, if you sustain a future “second strike” conviction, your sentence can double. A “third strike” conviction is punishable by 25 years-to-life in prison.
- You can be fined and/or ordered to pay restitution. Penal Code Section 672 authorizes the court to fine you up to $1,000 for any misdemeanor conviction or up to $10,000 for any felony conviction where a fine is not specifically prescribed.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of criminal threats, you may be held accountable for paying restitution for an emergency response by any governmental agency attending the scene of your alleged crime. You may also be liable for paying restitution to your victim (Penal Code Section 1204.2).
- The court will likely impose a restraining order against you. A restraining order protects the person(s) allegedly threatened. A judge almost always imposes a temporary restraining order whenever someone is potentially at risk of harm. If the protective order becomes permanent, it can last up to 10 years. You are prohibited from having any contact with your victim while a restraining order is in effect. Violating a restraining order is a crime in itself.
- You can be ordered to participate in counseling. A judge may order you to complete a minimum of 52 weeks of anger management counseling in cases where you threatened someone with physical harm.
- You my have your professional license suspended. Because of the deplorable nature of this crime, a conviction for criminal threats is considered a “crime of moral turpitude.” This means that if you hold a professional license (i.e., you are a doctor, lawyer, or teacher) you risk having your license suspended or revoked if you are charged with this crime.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be deported. If you are not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for criminal threats is also a deportable offense pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1227.
Wallin & Klarich Can Help You Today
A conviction for criminal threats can have a long-lasting and negative impact on your life. You need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich today if you or someone you care about has been charged with this offense. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience making certain our clients receive the best legal representation possible.
We can help you avoid the serious consequences of a criminal threats conviction, such as a jail or prison sentence, fines and restitution, a strike on your record, and the loss of your professional license, or your ability to stay in the country if you are not a U.S. citizen. With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, trust the skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich be here 24/7 to help you win your case.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.