Most of the time, when we think of “terroristic threats,” we think of something major like an attack on the country. However, being charged with such a crime can stem from something a lot less significant. Terroristic threat charges can come from simple, yet heavy statements, like “I’m going to kill you,” or other threats to cause physical harm or damage, either between friends, significant others, or complete strangers. It is important to understand what a terroristic threat charge actually entails so you can best avoid trouble.
Terroristic Threats Defined
Terroristic threats can take on a few different meanings depending on the situation. To best understand how to determine a terroristic threat, let’s take a look at New Jersey’s Code of Criminal Justice, 2C:12-3, which states:
a.A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.
b.A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.
Terroristic Threat Charges and Consequences
A terroristic threat must be taken seriously and seen to have caused reasonable fear. Two friends joking around about a sporting event most likely will not be taken as seriously as two strangers who are arguing over a road-rage incident. While in both instances, there may be threats to cause harm, the two friends arguing about a sporting event are not causing any reasonable fear. However, the strangers arguing in the road may let their emotions get the best of them, leading to reasonable fear that one of them may follow through with something serious. The most important element in any case is that there was a threat of physical injury or damage to property, and that there is reasonable fear that the person will carry out their threat.
As stated above in the New Jersey’s Code of Criminal Justice, terroristic threats is a crime in the third degree, which can lead to 3-5 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. Although, it rises to a crime in the second degree if done during a period of national, State or county emergency. If this is the case, the consequences can get increasingly worse, with 5-10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000.
Make Sure You Have Representation
Being charged with a terroristic threat can be a serious matter. However, there are ways to defend against it. Unless there is written, physical evidence, it usually becomes a case of your word against another’s. This is why you want to make sure you have reliable representation. We at Catanzaro Law understand the significance of these kinds of charges and are ready to protect your innocence. The consequences of such charges are no laughing matter, which is why our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys are ready to represent you and your case. Don’t wait, contact us today for a free consultation and feel confident that you’re getting the best representation possible!