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    Defense Strategies for a Criminal Threat Charge in California

    Posted on: June 4th, 2023 by Dod Law

    Criminal Threat Charge | Dod Law | Best Criminal Defense LawyerCriminal Threat Charge

    Are you facing a criminal threat charge in California?  You could face severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, probation, and a permanent criminal record, if convicted. However, you can improve your chances of obtaining a good verdict with the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney and a well-thought-out defense strategy.

    It’s crucial to keep in mind that being charged with a criminal threat offense in California is a serious matter that requires immediate attention and a well-crafted defense strategy. However, every criminal threat case is different, and your situation’s particular circumstances will determine how effective a defense strategy is.

    Understanding a Criminal Threat Charge

    In California, any declaration or action that expresses a definite intention to hurt another person physically is considered a criminal threat. The prosecution must establish the following facts beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to succeed in getting a conviction:

    • The defendant knowingly threatened to kill another person or unlawfully cause them bodily harm
    • The defendant communicated the threat verbally, in writing, or through electronic means
    • The defendant’s threat was unequivocal, immediate, and specific
    • The threat caused the alleged victim to be in sustained fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family

    Criminal threats are intricate offenses that have a set standard for proof. You may still be found guilty of issuing a criminal threat even though you had no intention of carrying out your threat.

    Possible Defense Strategies in Criminal Threat Prosecutions

    When facing criminal threat charges in California, your defense lawyer may employ several defense strategies to challenge the prosecution’s case. Here are some common defense tactics:

    1. Lack of Intent

    One effective defense strategy is to argue that you did not possess the necessary intent to carry out the threat. If your attorney can demonstrate that there was no genuine intent or that the statement was merely a careless remark or a figure of speech, it might seriously undermine the prosecution’s case.

    2. Lack of Credible Threat

    Your attorney may argue that your statement did not constitute a genuine and credible threat. They can demonstrate that the threat lacked the precision necessary to make a reasonable person worry for their safety, or that it was ambiguous, unclear, or both.

    3. Lack of Communication

    The prosecution must demonstrate that the victim received the threat. Your defense attorney may contend that no crime was committed if there is no proof of direct or indirect communication of the threat. Be mindful, though, that the term “communication” can be used to refer to spoken, written, or technological means.

    4. Lack of Fear

    A strong defense strategy involves challenging whether the alleged victim genuinely feared for their safety. Your attorney may argue that the victim’s reaction or behavior following the alleged threat does not align with someone who genuinely believed they were in danger.

    5. Self-Defense or Defense of Others

    Threats can be employed as a defensive tactic if they are made out of self-defense or to protect others. Under California law, people are permitted to use reasonable force to defend themselves or other people from danger. Your attorney can argue that the threat was a response to a perceived threat and that you intended to protect yourself or someone else.

    6. Constitutional Violations

    Your defense attorney will scrutinize the actions of law enforcement during your arrest and subsequent investigation and may submit a motion to suppress information obtained by illegal means if there are constitutional violations, such as an unauthorized search or seizure. Excluding crucial evidence can weaken the prosecution’s case or lead to its dismissal.

    Contact a Seasoned and Experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney

    Navigating criminal threat charges in the California criminal justice system requires the expertise of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. Getting legal counsel as soon as possible is critical if you or someone you know has been detained for accusations of making a criminal threat. 

    At Dod Law, APC, we are dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation for clients facing criminal charges in California. With decades of combined experience, our team of skilled attorneys understands the intricacies of criminal threat cases. To schedule your free consultation, call us at our San Diego office (619) 814-5110 | Vista office 760-814-6025. Alternatively, you can speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer by completing our online contact form.

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