Los Angeles Terrorist Threats Lawyer
Threats of violence, threats to injure, hurt, or kill another for the purpose of intimidation, to frighten, or cause public panic is considered a terrorist threat according to California law. For instance, the following are all examples of prosecutable offenses that could be categorized as terrorist threats.
- A bomb threat called in to a local school.
- A threatening e-mail sent to a church or abortion clinic.
- The terrorizing of a local family for political, racial, or religious reasons.
- A threat of bodily harm delivered to an ex-wife’s new boyfriend.
- A threat of harming or injuring a neighbor.
Terrorist threats may be made by phone, in person, in writing, or electronically against an individual or group of people and at a public building or workplace. Regardless of the communication vehicle or the recipient, any threat that instills fear in another can be construed as a terrorist threat.
California Penal Code Section 422 (PC422) and Terrorist Threats
CP 422 is the California law that governs terrorist threats, a very serious offense. To obtain a conviction of a terrorist threat charge, the allegation of a terrorist threat must withstand the five following specifications.
- The accused willfully threatened to unlawfully inflict great bodily injury upon or threaten to kill another person.
- The terrorist threat was made with the specific intent to be taken as a threat.
- The terrorist threat was so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific that the party to whom it was conveyed understood that the threat was real and that the person making the threat had every intention of carrying out the threat.
- The threat actually caused sustained fear (meaning the time period exceeded a momentary time period, a fleeting time period or was transitory) in another.
- The fear was a reasonable one.
Penalties for Terrorist Threats in California
California law allows for a charge of terrorist threats to be either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the threat, its consequences, and the discretion of the prosecutor. Penalties and punishments for the offense vary and include prison time, large fines, parole, probation, and loss of certain rights (like your ability to vote or own a gun).
If convicted of a misdemeanor for terrorist threats, you could incur the imposition of probation with or without jail time, fines of up to $2000, community service, counseling, restitution, and a “stay away" order, all of which stay on your criminal record forever. If convicted of a felony of terrorist threats, you could be sentenced up to three years in prison, incur the same penalties as with a misdemeanor conviction, and have a “strike” on your record under the California Three Strikes Law.
Defenses for Terrorist Threat Charges in California
A joke or off-the-cuff remark isn’t enough to warrant a terrorist threat charge, but an actual criminal threat is. Therefore, during trial, it is imperative to provide the court with evidence that disproves the intention of a criminal threat by using your First Amendment rights of protection of freedom of speech to combat the charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney will raise the some of the following issues at trial in a defense of a terrorist threat charge.
- Lack of evidence that you committed the crime
- Mistaken identity
- Insufficient evidence
- Freedom of speech rights where applicable
To challenge a terrorist threat crime, your defense attorney will also immediately challenge the charges against you, conduct an extensive investigation into the alleged incident, interview the law enforcement officials involved in your case, locate and interview all witnesses to the alleged threat, and present any applicable evidence against the accuser who claimed you made a terroristic threat.
Contact The Manuelian Law Firm if You Have Been Charged with a Terrorist Threat Crime
R.J. Manuelian is an aggressive, experienced Los Angeles terrorist threat criminal defense lawyer who you can count on to uncover every detail of any terroristic threat charge you might face. His relentless pursuit to protect the rights of those charged with criminal offenses is well-documented in state and Federal courts. Contact him today for a free evaluation of your terrorist threat case.