Is Making a Threat a Criminal Offense?

America is known as the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and one of the freedoms we have is the freedom of speech. While freedom of speech protects us from getting into trouble for saying most things, saying certain things could result in criminal charges. Is making a threat protected by freedom of speech, or could it result in criminal charges?

Criminal Threats & California

California’s legal code identifies certain types of threats as illegal, these statements are called criminal threats. Criminal threats are defined as “threatening to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person.”

However, legally determining a criminal threat is more complicated than that.

Factors required for a criminal threat arrest include:

  • A threat of great bodily injury or death;
  • The threatener meant to intentionally threaten someone (even if there is no intent to carry out the threat);
  • The threat could reasonably be carried out by the threatener;
  • The threatened was scared for their own or someone else’s safety.

It’s important to note that a physical act of violence that fails to connect with the intended target ( a failed punch, a missed throw, etc.) is not a threat but an assault in California.

Have You Been Arrested for Making a Criminal Threat?

As you can see, it’s possible to be arrested for making a criminal threat against someone else, even if the accused had no intention of carrying it out. However, our firm is here to help!

Newman & Allen is an experienced criminal defense firm that knows how to win. We defend our client’s rights at every step of the criminal process, making sure the judge or jury understands the facts.

Call (909) 328-6101 now for a free consultation for your case!

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