Monmouth County NJ Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyers
When accused of terroristic threats, it is of principal importance to first understand the necessary elements of this charge under New Jersey law. Although these charges may arise in cases ranging from bomb threats to road rage or domestic violence incidents, the underlying essential element is creating a reasonable fear in the victimized party by threatening to cause some form of physical injury. Notably, a terroristic threat can be communicated verbally or in writing through a variety of means including text messages, email, or social media platforms. In cases wherein a threat is allegedly made verbally, it can be very difficult for the State to support these charges, relying solely on the word of the victim or another party who was present at the time of the alleged offense.
Further, the threat itself must be considered “reasonable,” meaning that the circumstances of the case would support a person’s feeling of fear in connection with the threat. For instance, a threat made in jest is not likely to satisfy the requirements of the statute, whereas a jilted former spouse or lover who threatens to cause harm during a contentious break-up may provide cause for a charge of this nature. With that said, the prosecution must also prove that you made the threat with the intent to terrorize the alleged victim. By calling into question this critical element, an experienced defense attorney can cast doubt on the validity of these allegations.
Overall, an accusation of terroristic threats leaves you exposed to a significant term of incarceration, thousands of dollars in fines, and the potential for collateral consequences such as a restraining order. At Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended countless clients accused of these crimes in Monmouth County and we are more than prepared to assist you. It is our passion to serve as your guide and staunch advocate throughout the legal process. Contact our West Long Branch office today at 732-440-3950 to discuss your case.
Terroristic Threats in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
The New Jersey Criminal Code addresses terroristic threats in section N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, stating the following with regard to these offenses:
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.
Penalties for Terroristic Threats in New Jersey
As mentioned previously, a typical charge for terroristic threats is graded as a third-degree crime, which carries a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $15,000. However, these charges are elevated to a second-degree crime if the threat is made during a period of government-declared emergency. A second-degree crime carries a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000, with a presumption of incarceration. This means that even a defendant with no prior criminal record is likely to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. It is important to note that lack of knowledge is not considered a valid defense in the case of a second degree terroristic threats charge. In other words, it is irrelevant whether or not you knew a state of emergency was declared prior to making a terroristic threat.
Contact Middletown NJ Terroristic Threats Attorneys for Help with Your Case
The potential for a criminal record and marred reputation may be weighing heavily on your mind, but your fate is by no means sealed. To learn more about how our Monmouth County criminal defense lawyers can protect the interests of you or someone you love, contact our West Long Branch office at 732-440-3950 for immediate assistance.