Most crimes are taken quite seriously in the State of California. What most people don’t know is that the mere threats of criminal acts are taken just as seriously. Criminal threats are viewed as crimes in and of themselves. Making some types of threats can lead to imprisonment sometimes equivalent to actually committing several of these crimes.
Although individual counties are the entities that set bail and choose between specific punishments for people convicted of criminal threats, it is the State of California that sets forth the definition and sentencing guidelines. One thing is for sure: anyone accused of criminal threats should seek a lawyer immediately to avoid serious consequences.
What Constitutes a Criminal Threat?
California defines several instances that constitute a criminal threat. One example of a criminal threat occurs when a person makes a threat against another person, that they will commit a crime causing great bodily harm or death to that person or their immediate family. This threat can be made by any medium (such as phone or email) and must be made in a way that causes the threatened person to live in constant fear for their safety or the lives of their family.
California Penal Code 422 also states that making a known false bomb report constitutes criminal threat. It goes on to say that mailing a fake bomb, or other type of fake weapon of mass destruction, also constitutes criminal threat. The final instance of criminal threat mentioned in the code is when a person posts any type of information about an academic researcher, with the express purpose of causing another to either commit or threaten to commit a crime of violence against that researcher or their immediate family.
Each California County’s superior court sets forth a bail schedule that lists crimes and a preset bail amount for each. Using this bail schedule, one of Bail Hotline’s twenty-five locations throughout California can arrange for your release within only a few hours time, charging just a ten percent fee of the face bail amount.
Each county’s bail schedule usually differs in set amounts for various crimes, but most California counties are in agreement on the preset bail for criminal threats. Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties both list the bail for criminal threats at $50,000. Monterey and San Benito counties actually have some variance in preset bail for this charge, dependent upon whom the threat is made.
Penalties and Consequences
The punishments for most criminal threats are also similar. A threat of great bodily harm to a person or their family carries the same penalty as disseminating information on an academic researcher with the intent of inciting others to cause them harm – a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of one-thousand dollars.
California Penal Code 422 doesn’t speak to the sentencing of a person who sends a fake weapon of mass destruction or makes a false bomb threat. The incarceration penalties for these crimes are handled differently than other criminal threats. The code simply states that a person who commits these crimes must reimburse the government for emergency response costs related to the crime. If convicted, a person must also reimburse any private or public entity that incurred costs due to their emergency response. Finally, the convicted must also reimburse anyone else, individual or organization, for any costs incurred due to the false threat.
A criminal threat is considered a serious crime within the State of California. Putting a person in fear of their life is considered by some to be tantamount to terrorism. It is for this reason that severe penalties exist for the crime. Anyone accused of making criminal threats should call a bail agent to post a bond on the preset bail schedule, rather than waiting to stand in court and risk the bail amount being raised by a stern judge.