A death threat is never something to be taken lightly. Issuing a death threat is not just irresponsible; it is also illegal and punishable by jail time. If you have been accused of sending a death threat, you should take those charges seriously. With the help of a knowledgeable defense attorney, you can fight those charges and avoid jail time because of a poorly-timed joke or even a false accusation.
Under California law, a death threat of any kind – serious or not – is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and restitution payments for any personnel, emergency response, or property damage the threat causes. In other words, if you plant a fake bomb and issue a death threat, even as a joke, you can be fined for the full cost of containing and disposing of the fake bomb. Depending on what cleanup services are needed, if any, these fines could be substantial.
In addition, the law does not distinguish between threats issued vocally and those in writing. Electronic communication makes no difference either, with an email having the same significance as a letter. The law does not take context into consideration, either. Even if not meant seriously, joke threats are still taken seriously by the law if the person receiving it feels threatened.
The legal and personal consequences of issuing a death threat, even a facetious one, can be great. The San Jose criminal lawyers of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. can help you defend yourself and clear your name. To discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact us today at (408) 493-0082.