Can a Criminal Threat be Made Via Text Message? PC 422(a)

April 4, 2023

Under California Penal Code 422(a), it is a criminal offense to make a threat to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury to another person. This can include making a threat via text message or other electronic means of communication.

When a threat is made via text message, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and willfully made the threat with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family. The prosecution must also prove that the threat was specific and unconditional. This means that the threat must indicate a clear and immediate danger, rather than a vague or conditional threat.

In cases where a threat is made via text message, the prosecution may use the text message as evidence of the threat. This can include screenshots of the text message or testimony from the person who received the message. The prosecution may also use other forms of evidence, such as the defendant’s phone records or the testimony of other witnesses, to establish that the defendant made the threat.

The punishment for making a criminal threat under Penal Code Section 422(a) can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted of a misdemeanor, the defendant can face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If convicted of a felony, the defendant can face up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If a defendant is convicted of a felony, then they may be able to reduce their conviction to a misdemeanor after the expiration of probation.

Attorney John D. Rogers is a criminal defense attorney. He is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His office represents clients throughout Southern California in state and federal matters. If you’re seeking legal representation for PC 422(a), give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call to schedule a free consultation.

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