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Criminal Threats Charges

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Mark Broughton > Violent Crimes > Criminal Threats

What are Criminal Threats?

Criminal threats are when someone threatens to physically harm or kill someone and the person being threatened is reasonably frightened for his or her safety or for the safety of his or her immediate family, the threat is specific and indisputable, and the threat is communicated verbally, written, or through an electronic device.

You can be charged with criminal threats even if you do not have the ability to carry out the threat or without the intention of carrying out the threat.

In order to be convicted of criminal threats, the prosecution has to prove the following:

  • You willfully threatened to kill or cause serious injury to someone
  • You intended for your verbal, written, or electronic statement to be seen as a threat
  • The threat was indisputable so it seemed that it would be executed immediately
  • The threatened person was reasonably frightened for his or her safety or his or her immediate family.


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Penalties for Criminal Threats

Criminal threats is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history.

As a misdemeanor the penalties include:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000

If convicted as a felony, the penalties include:

  • Up to 3 years in a California state prison
  • A maximum fine of $10,000

If a deadly or dangerous weapon was used to communicate the threat then you face an additional and consecutive year in a state prison.

If threats are made more than once, against multiple people, or with different intentions then penalties could be administered for each threat made.

Legal Defenses for Criminal Threats

The threat must be so “unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific” that it seems likely to be immediately executed. Immediately does not need to mean right this second, but could be where if someone doesn’t do what you want, then you’ll execute the threat at a later time. If the threat doesn’t convey that it will be immediately executed then it can serve as a defense.

A criminal threat needs to be specific but it does not need to communicate a time or how it will be executed. A threat could appear to be vague but if the surrounding circumstances make it clear what the intention is, then it will qualify as a criminal threat. So if a threat is vague but there are no other aspects surrounding the situation that point to it being executed, then it can be used as a defense.

If the person being threatened doesn’t feel frightened by your threat then it’s not a criminal threat.

If the threatened person’s fear is unreasonable or not real then you should not be convicted of criminal threats. So if a threat was made that was impossible to execute and the threatened person was frightened by it, his or her fear would be unreasonable.

If the threatened person’s fear was only for a moment or fleeting and didn’t cause any prolonged fear, then you should not be convicted of criminal threats.

Have you been legally accused of committing criminal threats? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face.

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Phone: 559-691-6222

Your Defense Attorney for Criminal Threats Charges

I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with Violent Crimes such as Assault, Great Bodily Injury, Domestic Violence, and Aggravated Assault to name a few.

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About Mark Broughton:

Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:

Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.

He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.

Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.

Other Qualifications:
  • Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
  • Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
  • Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section

Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients.  He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.

Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.

Practice Areas

  • Federal Crime 40%
  • White Collar Crime 20%
  • Violent Crime 20%
  • Criminal Defense 10%
  • Sex Crimes 10%

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