Posted by Gurjit Srai In Criminal Charges May 15, 2024 0 Comment

Criminal threats, which used to formerly be called “terrorist threat,” is now generally associated with domestic violence cases under California Penal Code Section 422. These are known as wobbler crimes because the offenses can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The possibility of a felony charge, which can be a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law, makes a criminal threat charge serious. If you or someone who you know has been charged with a criminal threat offense, it is imperative that you immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney.

Elements of a California Criminal Threat Charge

Criminal threat charges are complicated offense and follow a specific criterion of proof. In order to be convicted on the charges, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • You willfully issued a threat against another individual
  • The threat was to kill or seriously injure the individual, through another person or on your own
  • You made the threat orally, in writing, or via electronic communication
  • The threat was unconditional, specific, clear, and immediate
  • You had an immediate prospect and serious intention of carrying out the threat
  • The other individual the threat was directed towards feared their safety
  • The other individual reasonably felt the fear

You may be convicted of a criminal threat offense even if you had no intention of carrying out the threat but it was interpreted as a threat.

Family Members Covered Under the Law

The element of fear in the charge of criminal threat does not only need to be intended towards the victim, but also includes the victim fearing for the wellbeing of a family member. The following family members are covered under the law:

  • Spouse by marriage or not
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Family members related through consanguinity or affinity within the second degree
  • Anyone regularly residing at the household
  • Anyone that lived in the home periodically withing the last 6 months before the occurrence of the crime

Defense Strategies for a Criminal Threat Offense

An experienced Fresno criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare a defense to help acquit you of the charges or at the very least have them reduced. A few defense strategies for a criminal threat charge include:

  • Threat was not properly communicated orally, in writing, or electronically
  • The statement did not cause reasonable fear
  • The words were not enough to create fear in the victim
  • The threat was vague or overly ambiguous
  • The threat was no immediate

Call an Experienced Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested or is facing a criminal investigation, it is in your best interest to immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you learn about your legal rights and options.  For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Fresno criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.