What Constitutes California’s Penal Code 422?
California’s penal code 422 is commonly known as criminal threats and formerly known as “terrorist threat” law. It is defined as the intentional communication of grave bodily harm or threat to another person. If the threat was made to an intimate partner or former intimate partner, then it can also be categorized as a case of domestic violence. A criminal threat case is a complicated case. Even though the accused do not have the capacity to carry out the threat he/she made against someone, the accused can still be charged with criminal threat. Because of the “loose” definition of this crime, many people had been falsely charged with it.
But you do not have to worry, before the prosecutors can convict you of this crime, they must first prove the following without a doubt:
- The accused/defendant knowingly made threats to inflict grave bodily harm and/or injuries towards the accuser.
- The accused or defendant was able to communicate the threat, verbally via electronic communication or writing.
- The defendant meant the statement to be understood by the person who was threatened as a threat and not something else.
- The threat, once communication, caused the threatened person grave fear for his/her life and safety and of those around her.
- The threat was made in an explicit manner and a serious intention of carrying out the threat was clearly conveyed.
- The threatened person experienced fear that is considered to be reasonable under the situation.
The prosecutor has an obviously uphill battle to win. The defendant and his/her legal representation on the other hand can refute or make a strong defense by utilizing these possible defense strategies:
- Claim that the threat was never made
- Claim the threat was not made by the accused or a case of mistaken identity
- The threat was clearly made as a joke
- The threat was made as a self-defense
- The threatened person did not believe the threat in the first place
- There was no intent to directly communicate the threat to the threatened person
- The threat made was not to inflict serious bodily harm (applicable in cases where the threats made was that of punching, slapping and other acts not considered to produce serious bodily harm)
- The fear felt was temporary and felt in a short period of time.
There are more possible defense strategies that can be used in a criminal threat case. The whole point of the defense is to sow doubt and make sure that the prosecution cannot prove the allegations without a doubt. Defense strategies are decided upon by the defense lawyer based on the facts and circumstances of individual cases.
If you are a victim of being falsely accused of crime like criminal threat under California’s penal code 422, it is important that you immediately seek the help of an expert defense attorney for criminal threats cases. They will be able to provide you insights and help you build a strong defense to prevent conviction and maintain your clean criminal record.