Los Angeles Criminal Threats Attorney
In California, it’s illegal to make what the law calls a “criminal threat.” You make a criminal threat when you threaten to kill or physically harm someone and that person is placed in a state of reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. The danger must be precise and unambiguous, and it must be delivered verbally, in writing, or by an electronic device.
Electronic devices can include telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or text messages. If the danger is conveyed through written communication, it is much easier to prove guilt than if it was a verbal threat. You can be charged with making a criminal threat whether or not you actually intend to follow through and even if you don’t have the ability to follow through. In southern California, if you are charged with making a criminal threat, speak at once with the Los Angeles-based Miranda Rights Law Firm. For over a decade, Los Angeles defense attorney Douglas Miranda has defended clients facing a vast range of different criminal charges. He is ready to represent you.
CRIMINAL THREAT LAWS IN CALIFORNIA
Making a criminal threat can be charged in California as a felony or as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of the misdemeanor, you face up to a year in a county jail. If you are convicted of the felony, you face up to four years in a state prison. If you used a dangerous or deadly weapon while making the danger, the sentence may be increased by an additional year.
If you make criminal threats against more than one person, at multiple times or with different objectives to your threat, you could face these legal penalties for each danger that you have committed. For example, if you have threatened your ex-wife on two separate occasions, you could face double the maximum sentences and fines that you would face if it were just one danger.
Making a criminal threat is a strike against you under California’s three strikes law. This means that not only will you be closer to your third strike, but you will also be required to serve at least 85% of your sentence before being eligible for an early release.
Criminal threats are also considered to be crimes of moral turpitude, which means it is viewed as more offensive than other types of crimes. Because it has this classification, you could also face professional disciplinary action if you are convicted, such as losing a professional license. Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude also puts you at risk of being deported if you are an illegal immigrant.
If are you charged with making criminal threats, contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our team of attorneys will review the details of your case, develop a sound defense strategy and fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
WE TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY
But without substantial documentary evidence or eyewitness testimony, making a criminal threat is a tough charge for a prosecutor to prove. According to California criminal law, you do not need to cause great bodily injury or damage. Plus, there may be no physical evidence in cases involving threatening verbal statements.
In your defense, you may contend that:
- the threat you made was not specific, but was only vague or ambiguous;
- that the person threatened was not genuinely in actual fear;
- that you made no threat at all and you’ve been wrongly accused;
- the person who was threatened could not have reasonably feared for his or her safety; and
- the fear that the recipient felt was fleeting and not temporary.
Proving that the victim felt a reasonable, lasting sense of fear is crucial to every criminal threat case. If the fear only lasted for a few minutes, then this can not be considered a criminal threat. Even if the fear is prolonged, if the fear is not reasonable, then it also should not be considered a criminal threat. Whether a fear is reasonable or not is determined based on what the actual threat was. If the threat could easily be carried out by the person who is making the threat, then fear is reasonable. However, if the threat would be incredibly difficult or impossible for someone to carry out, then fearing that it will actually happen is not reasonable to the average person.
A threat has to be specific, but it does not have to convey information about a time and place that the threat will be carried out in order to be considered specific. If the circumstances surrounding the threat clarify and make the threat more specific, then this could be considered a criminal threat.
To pursue criminal threat charges, evidence of a bodily injury is not required, since the defendant does not have to follow through with the threat in order to be charged. Since no physical evidence has to be shown, many people are falsely accused of making criminal threats. People who are trying to seek revenge against someone or who are trying to escape criminal liability may accuse you of making criminal threats, especially because the threat does not need to be written in order to be considered a crime.
It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that these elements of a criminal threat existed when you committed the alleged crime. With the help of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to present evidence that shows all of these elements were not present during the criminal threat. When your case is handled by Los Angeles attorney Douglas Miranda, you can be certain that your side of the story will be clearly and unambiguously told.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY
If you’ve been charged in southern California with making a criminal threat, put an experienced Los Angeles criminal threats attorney to work for you. Douglas Miranda will outline your legal options and develop the most effective possible defense. At the Miranda Rights Law Firm, we put our experience to work for you. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles criminal threats attorney, contact us today. Send an email, or call 213-255-5838. Se habla español.