Terrorist threats can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. They are a very serious matter, and an individual who is being investigated for making a terrorist threat or has already been charged with this offense will benefit greatly by retaining an experienced criminal lawyer to defend him/her.
Terrorist and Criminal Threats
California’s Penal Code has a section – PC 422 – that deals with making terrorist or criminal threats. People generally think of “terrorist” threats as someone calling in a bomb threat or threatening to distribute a toxic substance in a public place. However, the threats dealt with in the California statute involve a much broader range of conduct.
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Threat of Violence, Injury, Panic
The statute defines a terrorist or criminal threat as “a threat of violence, threat to hurt, injure or kill” another or others “with the intent of intimidating or frightening them, or causing public panic.” Thus, the threat could also be against a single individual, known to the perpetrator. The threat could be made over the phone, in person, in writing, or electronically. Examples of criminal and terrorist threats include:
- sending a threatening e-mail (e.g., to a church or an abortion clinic)
- terrorizing neighbors based on their nationality, race or sexual preference
- threatening to hurt an ex-spouse’s new “significant other”
- telling airline personnel that you have a weapon
- calling in a bomb threat (e.g., to a school or theater)
- stalking an ex-lover and leaving threatening phone messages for him/her
- threatening to kill someone
Penalties for Terrorist Threats
A district attorney has the discretion to charge a terrorist threat as a felony (with penalties that include up to three years in state prison) or misdemeanor (punishable by a fine, jail time, counseling, a “stay-away” order, and other consequences such as a request for a restraining order against you). A felony terrorist threat is considered a “Strike” under California’s “Three Strikes Law.” The seriousness of the threat, its consequences, and the defendant’s prior criminal history will be factored into the charge and the sentence if the defendant is convicted.
Consult Defense Criminal Lawyer Anna R. Yum
It’s very helpful to have a skilled and knowledgeable defense criminal lawyer working on your behalf when you’re dealing with a charge as serious as making a terrorist threat. Contact Criminal Lawyer Anna R. Yum for the legal knowledge and experience you need.