Penal Code Section 422 forbids California residents from criminally threatening another person. The crime can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor. And even as a misdemeanor, the offense comes with some serious consequences.
Defending oneself is the best way to avoid being confined and paying hefty fines. It is essential to align your arguments with specific circumstances. An Orange County criminal defense attorney can develop a strategy to convince the judge of your innocence and keep your criminal record clean.
What Elements Can I Use to Build a Good Defense?
Defending oneself begins with an in-depth understanding of the elements of the crime. It should actually be the basis of the defense. Here are questions to ask yourself while you formulate a strategic fight with the help of a professional:
- Was the fear experienced reasonable under those circumstances?
- Did the person actually fear for their safety or that of their family?
- Was the alleged threat specific and immediate?
- Did the alleged threat have a clear purpose and imply that it would be carried out immediately?
- Was the threat communicated verbally, orally, or through electronic communication?
- Did you intend for the message to be interpreted as a threat?
- Did you threaten to commit a crime that would injure or kill someone?
An Orange County criminal threat lawyer can show you how to use the above questions to dispute criminal threats accusations.
How Can I Defend Myself if My Comments Were Vague or Ambiguous?
In instances where your comments can be interpreted in various ways, you can argue that you meant something else. For example, a co-worker might charge you for criminal threats after telling him to watch out. You could say to the judge that you wanted them to stay alert to avoid being fired.
Vague, ambiguous comments that weren’t accompanied by weapons or anything to substantiate it are possible to defend oneself against. It won’t be fair for you to be convicted of a crime, yet you had innocent intentions.
Do I Have a Defense if My Words Weren’t Directed at the Victim?
The argument that the threats were not directed at the alleged victim can be a great defense. For instance, you might have been having a conversation with someone and accidentally sent a message to someone else. Without proper contextualization, the person might have perceived it as a threat.
Your Orange County criminal threat lawyer can gather all the evidence to show that the words weren’t directed at them. The prosecution might use the testimony of the person you were initially conversing with and the record of the text messages in court.
Can Credibility Be Used as a Defense?
Someone with malicious intentions can falsely accuse you of making criminal threats. You might have called a neighbor and told them to stop parking in your yard. They could accuse you of threatening to kill them to get back at you.
In such an instance, you might have to use the testimony of a person that witnessed you making the phone call. A skilled criminal threat attorney in Laguna Hills, CA, can help you find evidence showing that the person is only lying to get back at you.
Do I Have a Defense if I Had No Criminal Intent?
You might have sent a message with no criminal threat intentions. But since different people have varying interpretations of things, they could mistake it for a threat. For example, you might have sent a joke in someone’s email, but they perceive it as a real threat.
A skilled Orange County criminal threat lawyer can help you substantiate your arguments with the right pieces of evidence. The proof you might need to gather would depend on the circumstances and the case’s unique facts.
How Can I Have Criminal Threat Charges in California Dismissed?
Before bringing charges against you, the prosecution must have invested their time and resources. Therefore, it might not be easy to convince them to drop charges brought against you in California.
Most seasoned criminal threats attorneys in Orange County begin by negotiating for reduced charges or a dismissal. But this requires extensive research and preparation. Loopholes and inconsistencies in the evidence and witness statements brought by the prosecution can offer grounds for negotiations.
Can I Defend Myself at the Preliminary Hearing?
A preliminary hearing is mandatory if the prosecution charges you for a criminal threat felony. At the mini-trial, the alleged victim and their legal team need to show the court that they have enough evidence to bring the charges against you.
You have to be prepared to raise your defenses at the preliminary hearing. A case with insufficient evidence rarely makes it past the preliminary hearing. So, make sure that you have an attorney that understands how judges look at the evidence.
How Does a Case Review Help in Formulating a Defense?
The journey to a good defense starts when you schedule a case review with a criminal defense lawyer in California. You need to be very honest with them and avoid spinning any information. Besides, they are on your side and want the best possible outcome for your case.
Usually, they will have an idea of the pieces of evidence the prosecution has and will try comparing it with your side of the story. After that, the attorney could develop a game plan that can help you win the case.
Southern California Attorneys Defending the Rights of the Accused
Often, words are misinterpreted to mean something contrary to what was intended. At other times, you could be accused falsely. If you don’t develop a good defense, you can easily be pronounced guilty, and your life could change for good.
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing Californians accused of various offenses. The court procedures can be complicated, and it is easy to feel alone and stressed. But having a legal expert handling matters on your behalf can make the journey more bearable. Make a call today to get started with your defense in California.