San Mateo Criminal Threats Attorney
Criminal threats or terroristic threats (these terms can be used interchangeably) is a criminal charge that can be charged either as a felony or as a misdemeanor. The important thing to know about a criminal or terroristic threats charge is that if it is charged as a felony then it is a strike offense. As we discuss in other parts of our website, a strike offense will subject an individual to either double the maximum punishment of a new felony offense, or potentially a life sentence if the defendant has two or more prior strike convictions. A first-time offender who is convicted of making criminal or terrorist threats can face either 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison. A conviction for a misdemeanor criminal or terroristic threats charge can carry up to one year in the County jail and thousand dollar fine or both.
The district attorney has wide discretion in determining whether or not to file a criminal or terroristic threats charge as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Among the things that a district attorney considers when choosing to file as either a felony or misdemeanor, is the defendant's criminal history, the alleged victim, i.e., prior threats or violence with the same defendant, as well as, the age or infirmity of the victim, and the actual severity of the threat itself. It is important for you to know that even if you are charged with making a felony terroristic threat, that the experienced South San Francisco terroristic threats defense lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram, attorneys at law, can help you seek a reduction of your charges from a felony to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code § 17(b).
CRIMINAL THREAT DEFENSES
In order for the Dist. Atty. to prove that any criminal or terrorist threat has been made the district attorney needs to approve the following six elements.
- The defendant willfully threatened to unlawfully kill or lawfully cause great bodily injury to the complaining witness or a member of the complaining witnesses immediate family;
- The defendant made the threat either orally or in writing or by electronic communication;
- The defendant intended that his or her statement be understood as a threat (and in cases in which the threat was communicated through a third-party, that the defendant intended that it be communicated to the complaining witness);
- The threat was so clear, immediate, unconditional, and specific that he communicated to the complaining witness a serious intention in the immediate prospect that the threat would be carried out;
- The threat actually caused the complaining witness to be in sustained year for his or her own safety or for the safety of his or her immediate family; and
- The complaining witnesses fear was reasonable under the circumstances.
Several defense issues pop up when criminal or terrorist threats charges are in play. Amongst the most common, is whether the words used convey an immediate prospect of the execution of the threat. For example, an alleged threat that is remote in time, i.e., “I will kill next month when I come back to town” is likely not sufficient to violate the statute.
Another defense can arise when the threat is relayed through a third party intermediary, i.e., another person, or a social media outlet like Twitter® or Facebook®. In this situation, the issue is whether the defendant specifically intended for his or her alleged threat to be communicated to the complaining witness.
It is also important to know, that the criminal charge of terrorist threats was not enacted to punish emotional outbursts. It targets only those who try to instill fear in others. Criminal threats do not occur by mere angry utterances or renting soliloquies, however violent. [People v. Felix, 92 Cal.App.4th 905, 914].
In order to determine whether you have a defense in your criminal threats case, contact the Redwood City terrorist threat lawyers, Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law right away to discuss your rights.
NOTE: Labels in bold are required.