Speaking of criminal threats, make no mistake about it: running your mouth can get you arrested for, charged with, and convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, even if you thought you were just ranting or blowing off steam. See Pen. Code § 422. And if it’s a felony, it’s punishable by up to three years in state prison.
So what does it take to convict you? Well, it ain’t easy. The statute and case law say that the government must prove six things:
So it ain’t a gimme, but I wouldn’t chance it. A felony conviction is considered a “serious felony” and, therefore, a strike under the Three-Strikes Law. See Pen. Code § 1192.7(c)(38). Plus, even a misdemeanor conviction may be considered a crime of moral turpitude that affects your professional license or immigration status. See People v. Thornton (1992) 3 Cal. App. 4th 419, 422-24. So find another way to give that jerk a piece of your mind.
By the way, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to carry out the threat. Pen. Code § 422(a). Nor does it matter that you conveyed the threat to someone else entirely, if the government can prove that you intended for it to be communicated to your target. People v. Felix (2001) 92 Cal. App. 4th 905, 911-13; In re Ryan D. (2002) 100 Cal. App. 4th 854, 861-62. And even if your target never receives the threat, you can still be convicted of an attempted criminal threat if the government proves that you intended to make a threat that was sufficient to cause sustained fear in a reasonable person. People v. Chandler (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 508, 525.
So take a deep breath, instead, and walk away. Loose lips, as they say, sink ships.