Being charged with threatening another individual can be scary and overwhelming. Fortunately, our Orange County criminal threat lawyers could help you through this legal process and work hard to mitigate any penalties you may be facing. Our domestic violence attorneys could review you case and determine the best course of action.

What Constitutes a Criminal Threat?

To violate the criminal threat law, it must be proven that reasonable fear has occurred. There are several different components to the legal definition of fear. It must be proven that the victim suffered actual, reasonable fear that was of sufficient longevity. To establish that the victim was legitimately fearful, it must be shown that they truly believed that harm might come to them or their family. If the victim purchased a security system after being threatened, for example, it’s a reasonable indication that they took the threat seriously. One of our local attorneys could help an individual accused of criminally threatening someone determine if these elements are present in their case.

It must also be established that the victim’s fear was justified. If you made a threat that you could not possibly carry out, for example, the victim’s fear might be considered unreasonable. Fear must also be sustained. While there is no specific time frame associated with sustained fear, it must be proven that the threat causes fear that is more than momentary. Circumstances can combine to make relatively short-lived fear meet the guidelines for sustained fear. For example, if a man threatens a family with a gun in parking lot for five minutes, the severity of the situation may undercut its relative brevity. There are many types of threats that meet this criteria. Perhaps you left a threatening message on your ex-wife’s cell phone. Maybe you sent an old boss an email that threatened their family. If a threat causes sustained fear, it may be criminal in nature.

Potential Defenses

If you are accused of making a criminal threat, there are multiple means of defense. Perhaps the threat was too generic to cause persistent fear. Maybe the individual being threatened was not actually frightened, or the fear was lacking sufficient cause. It is also possible that the threat was not conveyed in a way that is provable. Perhaps the allegation is actually false. Most defenses for criminal threat cases involve proving that the threat in question does not meet the three primary criteria for criminal threat cases.

On of the most common defenses questions the immediacy of the threat. The California Penal Code specifies that the threat must have immediate implications. If the threat is too vague, or if it cannot be proven that the victim could reasonably expect the threat to be immediately executed, that might be an appropriate line of defense.

The threat might also lack the necessary specificity. While criminal threats do not have to include a specific manner of execution, if external circumstances don’t clarify the intent of the threat, it might not qualify as criminal. For example, a heated argument between a student and a teacher that ends with the student being sent to the principal’s office might not qualify as a criminal threat if it is not accompanied by violence or a history of previous altercations.

Another popular defense questions the validity of the victim’s fear. If the fear is not reasonable, the threat may not be declared criminal. For example, if you threatened to drop an atomic bomb on a person’s house, the victim’s fear has little basis in reality, because this is not a threat that could be reasonably carried out.

The fear caused by the threat might be declared fleeting. If the associated fear was not sustained, then the threat was not criminal. An Orange County Criminal attorney might also try to prove that fear, though sustained, was an over-reaction and not reasonable in nature in your criminal threats case.

Contact an Orange County Criminal Threats Attorney

If you have been accused of criminal threat, domestic violence, or an attendant crime, you need to find an attorney with the right experience. Marlin Stapleton, Jr and Scott Henry are prominent Orange County criminal threats lawyers in the area and they have over 30 years of criminal defense trial experience. They have worked on a wide variety of cases, ranging from misdemeanors to capital murder.

When you are charged with a crime, Marlin Stapleton, Jr and Scott Henry can provide you with the defense you need. They know being under investigation is an unsettling experience, and they give each client the attention they need and deserve. Contact the law offices of Marlin Stapleton, Jr and Scott Henry soon to learn more about the legal services they offer.

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