Recently, a man was arrested at a Studio City sushi restaurant for allegedly making criminal threats. According to witnesses, the suspect, Hiroshi Motohashi, was dining at Iroha Sushi of Tokyo when an altercation erupted between he and a restaurant employee. After the altercation, the suspect left – but didn’t stay gone long. He returned shortly with his pet snake and, allegedly, began making criminal threats toward the employee with whom he previously argued with.

It isn’t clear what, exactly, Motohashi said to threaten the employee, though it is reported that whatever the threats were, they involved the pet snake somehow. LASD deputies were called and, shortly after arriving at the restaurant, arrested Motohashi under suspicion of making criminal threats. He is currently being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, while the weapon of choice – his pet snake – was taken by members of Los Angeles Animal Services.

Criminal threats are covered under California Penal Code 422 PC and are described as threatening to kill or harm someone, thereby putting the target of your threats in a state of fear. A good example of making a criminal threat would be threatening to shoot someone while holding a gun (or, in this case, threatening to have an animal bite someone whilst holding a snake). Even if a person has no intention of actually following through with the threat, they can still be charged with violating 422 PC. The threat can be communicated verbally, in writing, or even electronically via email or text message.

Violations of PC 422 are “wobblers,” meaning that they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case and the defendant’s prior criminal record. Misdemeanor convictions carry the possible penalties of up to 1-year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 and/or misdemeanor probation. Felony convictions carry the possible penalties of up to 3-years in California state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.

It’s unclear as to why the suspect threw a hissy-fit at the employee, though one must assume he was quite rattled.