The Federal Bureau of Investigation is dealt with identifying and charging individuals for making and carrying out international and domestic terrorist threats.
A terrorist threat is a federal crime, and individuals charged with this crime, will be be prosecuted in federal court. Making criminal threats in California that are not terrorist threats, is not a federal crime. Individuals charged with this crime will not be prosecuted in federal court. Federal terrorist threats and criminal threats are serious charges. Contact an experienced defense attorney before speaking to anyone else, if possible.
The Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).
Under federal law, it is a crime to use, threaten, or attempt or conspire to use a weapon of mass destruction against (1) a U.S. national outside the U.S., (2) any person in the U.S. when the results affect or would affect interstate or foreign commerce, or (3) property used by the U.S. in or outside the U.S. The statute also addresses a biological agent or toxin, but not certain chemical weapons (which are addressed by a statute described below).
This crime is punishable by up to life in prison and if death results, the death penalty is also an option (18 U.S.C. 2332a).
Please see, http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005, for more definitions and penalties on terrorist threats.
CA PENAL CODE SECTION 422 (a) defines criminal threat as “Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
A criminal threat conviction is punishable not only up to one year in jail; if convicted, an alleged offender may be penalized with spending up to three years in prison, may result in a “strike” on the defendant’s criminal record, and he or she may lose some constitutional rights, such as, the right to vote and own a gun.
It is highly recommended that an alleged offender speak to his or her attorney before talking to anyone else. If the defendant cannot afford one, the courts will provide one at the expense of the state.
It is a bad idea for an alleged offender to discuss the case with police officers or anyone else for that matter regarding the circumstances of the case because he or she may unknowingly make incriminating statements against oneself, which may result in even more severe charges.