According to California Penal Code § 422, 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, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
California Penal Code § 422(b) defines “immediate family” as any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.
Examples of “electronic communication devices,” such as telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers, are listed under California Penal Code § 422(c).
Simply, a criminal threat is when you threaten to kill someone or physically hurt them and that person fears for either his or her safety, or his or her family’s safety, the threat is specific and also unequivocal, and you make the threat either verbally, in writing, or using an electronic device, such as your computer or cell phone. You can be charged with a criminal threat regardless of your actual ability or intention to carry out the threat.
Criminal threat charges can be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. If you have been charged with a criminal threat, contact an attorney immediately. The experienced attorneys at Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, will review your case and work with you every step of the way to secure the most favorable outcome for your situation.