California Penal Code section 422 defines the crime of criminal threats 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 was 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.”
The crime of criminal threats involves threatening to do a violent act with words- it does not require actually committing the threatened act. Criminal threats is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If criminal threats is charged as a misdemeanor the potential sentence is up to one year in the county jail. If charged as a felony the potential sentence is imprisonment in state prison for sixteen months, two years or three years. If you are convicted under Penal Code section 422 as a felony it is a “Strike.”
District Attorneys often charge criminal threats in domestic violence cases even when feuding spouses or partners say things that they do not mean in the heat of the moment and later regret them.
If you or a loved one has been charged with the very serious charge of criminal threats you need an attorney who has the experience and expertise to handle your case. You need attorney Lance Jacot representing you.