A criminal threats charge is very serious since it can be charged as a felony, a misdemeanor, and in some cases, as a strike under California’s Three Strikes law. In Los Angeles County, criminal threats are often charged in domestic violence cases, gang cases, and even battery cases resulting from street fights. In many cases, particularly in juvenile cases, individuals are charged with criminal threats for communication conducted through MySpace, Facebook, and via text message. To defend against these charges successfully, you need a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Proving Criminal Threats
To obtain a criminal threats conviction, the prosecutor must prove:
- a person threatened to unlawfully kill or unlawfully cause great bodily injury to another
- the threat was either made orally, in writing, or by an electronic communication device such as a computer or text message
- the defendant intended that the communication be intended as a threat, and that it be communicated to the person who is the target of the threat
- the threat was so clear, immediate, unconditional, and specific that it communicated to the person who was the target of the threat a serious intention, and the immediate prospect that the threat would be carried out
- the threat actually caused the person to whom the threat was directed to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety, or fear for the immediate safety of the immediate family
- the fear was reasonable under the circumstances
As you can see, criminal threats convictions are highly technical and very specific to the facts of your case. No two criminal threats cases are the same, which is why you need an experience defense attorney to investigate all the surrounding circumstances of the alleged threat, to craft all the appropriate defenses, and to aggressively fight the charges.
Intent to Threaten
Quite often, perfectly legal emotional outbursts or angry rants are charged as criminal threats, even though there was no intent to threaten the alleged victim, the alleged victim was not in any sustained fear, or the fear was not reasonable under the circumstances. Often this can be shown in a delay in reporting the threat, or the conduct of the alleged victim after receiving the so-called threat. In some cases, there is no possible way that the person accused of making the threat could have carried out the threat immediately or it is not reasonable that the communication was to be interpreted as a threat.
Defense Against Criminal Threats
Without an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to investigate your case and aggressively defend you against the police and prosecutors, you run the risk of being wrongfully convicted of criminal threats.
Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg can help defend you against this serious charge by showing the prosecution, the court, and a jury that you are not guilty of making criminal threats. For a free and confidential consultation, call Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or get in touch via the secure contact form on this page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.