Recently, a man was arrested by the Long Beach Police after he made threats of committing violence at an upcoming public event. Police were alerted to the online threat by a concerned resident and followed up immediately. After verifying the threat, they arrested J. Guzman, 27, of Huntington Park on suspicion of criminal threats. He was taken to the Long Beach Police Station where he underwent booking and processing and was subsequently released on $50,000 bail.
The nature of the threat has not been released by police, nor have they stated which public event the suspect was allegedly targeting. Additionally, police have not stated whether or not the suspect was actually able to carry out the threat(s) he made.
Criminal threats fall under California Penal Code 422 PC and are defined as threatening to kill or physically harm someone, and:
- That person is placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for their safety or that of their family
- The threat is specific and unequivocal, and
- The threat is communicated verbally, in writing, or via an electronic device
A few examples of criminal threats include:
- Threatening to stab or cut someone while holding a knife
- Texting someone that you’re going to kill or otherwise seriously injure them
- Calling someone and telling them to “watch their back”
It’s possible to be charged with violating California Penal Code 422 PC even if one doesn’t intend to actually carry out the threat, or if they even have the means to do so. Penal Code 422 PC deals with the actual making of the threat – not what happens after (if anything).
California Penal Code 422 is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Felony penalties include up to 3 years in California state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.