Donte T Wyatt -
A Criminal Threat requires a case requiring a criminal attorney
A Criminal Threat is the unlawful threatening to cause great bodily injury or death to another person. In San Diego
this crime is charged under California Penal Code section 422. In order for the prosecuting attorney to obtain a
conviction for making a criminal threat in violation of California Penal Code section 422 the prosecuting attorney
must prove the following elements of the crime:
1. The defendant willfully threatened to unlawfully kill or unlawfully cause great bodily injury to the alleged
2. The defendant made the threat orally, in writing or by electronic communication device;
3. The defendant intended that (his/her) statement be understood as a threat [and intended that it be communicated
to the victim;
4. The threat was so clear, immediate, unconditional, and septic that it communicated to the alleged victim a
serious intention and the immediate prospect that the threat would be carried out;
5. The threat actually caused the alleged victim to be in sustained fear for (his/her)
own safety [or for the safety of (his/her) immediate family];
6. The alleged victim’s fear was reasonable under the circumstances.
These types of charges often arise out of domestic violence cases and in general crimes of violence. An experienced
criminal defense attorney will effectively target and undermine the various element of California Penal Code
section 422 to prepare an effective defense. When evaluating a case involving California Penal Code section 422 an
experienced criminal defense attorney will target the elements of sustained fear. In order for the prosecuting
attorney to sustain a conviction for a violation of California Penal Code section 422 the prosecuting attorney must
prove that the victim was in fear and that the victim’s fear was sustained or on going.
“Sustained fear means fear for a period of time that is more than momentary, ﬂeeting, or transitory.” Secondly, the
experienced criminal defense attorney will attack the intent element of California Penal Code section 422. The
charged person must have the specific intent for the statement to be taken as a threat. It is always difficult to
prove a person’s state of mind. Often times threats of this nature are made in the heat of passion and are not
actually intended to be taken as serious threat, it is only a person speaking out of frustration with no actual
intent ever fulfill the threat.
If a person is charged with a violation of California Penal Code section 422 it is important to obtain competent
and experienced counsel as soon as possible. Penal Code section 422 is somewhat unique because it can be charged as
either a felony or as a misdemeanor pursuant to California Penal Code section 17(b). If the case is charged as a
felony it is also considered a strike offense therefore not only does the case have serious consequences in regards
to the current punishment, but also if the person is charged with a felony in the future.
Criminal Defense Attorney Donte T. Wyatt has extensive experience handling cases involving Penal Code section 422
in both a domestic violence setting and in a general crime of violence scenario.
Back to Top of