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Terrorist Threat

Terrorist threat is the former name for the crime now referred to as criminal threat. Although no longer officially called terrorist threat, many times it still referred to as terrorist threat (it was officially changed following the events of September 11th, where terrorist threat was redefined).

Today, terrorist threat is governed by California Penal Code section 422. At its most basic, the statute makes it a crime to threaten another person in a way that places him or her in fear for their own safety and well-being. Specifically, section 422 defines terrorist threat with the following elements:

  • One threatens to kill or physically harm someone;
  • The person threatened is placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her immediate family;
  • The threat is specific and unequivocal;
  • The threat is communicated either verbally, in writing or by electronic means.

It is important to note that according to California law, the crime is the threat and not the actual action. In other words, you can be charged with terrorist threat even when:

  • The threatened act is never actually be carried out;
  • You are not actually capable of carrying out the threatened act

Why You Should Worry About the Wobbler

A terrorist threat conviction falls under the auspices of California’s "wobbler law". This is worrisome because it means that the prosecution has the choice to either charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony crime. Often times this decision will come down to you such factors as the circumstances of the case, your criminal history, and even such things as whether or not the prosecutor likes you.

The wobbler aspect of a terrorist threat charge should worry you, because the resulting penalties vary greatly. For example, whereas a misdemeanor conviction could see you serving up to one year in a county jail, a felony terrorist threat conviction will see you serving a minimum two year sentence (and a maximum four year sentence) in a state prison.

Clearly, a terrorist threat charge is not to be taken lightly. To properly defend your rights, it is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman specializes in defending against Los Angeles terrorist threat charges. Practicing only in California criminal defense, attorney Kelman knows the California criminal process thoroughly.

Remember, when your future is on the line, call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman at 310.286.1218 for your free initial consultation.

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Studio City, CA 91604

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Los Angeles, CA 90012

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