Lawrence NJ Terroristic Threats Attorney
With Offices in Trenton and Pennington, New Jersey
Terroristic threats are among the most common, and serious, threat crimes in New Jersey. It can be difficult to defend against an allegation of terroristic threats because these situations often occur in domestic violence situations where emotions runs high and arguments escalate quickly. However, terroristic threats charges are not limited to domestic violence situations because NJ laws prohibit any and all threats of violence. In fact, it is not uncommon for a terroristic threats charge to arise from a mere joke or some other statement not meant to be taken seriously.
Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is a well-respected law firm that has been serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1972. Our criminal defense attorneys regularly appear in courtrooms in East Windsor, Hamilton, and everywhere else in Mercer County, NJ. If you have been accused of terroristic threats or another threat crime, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney on your side early in the legal process. Call KCR now to speak with a member of our litigation team and begin your defense immediately.
Terroristic Threats Charges in Mercer County NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
Terroristic threats charges in New Jersey are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3. The statute broadly covers two situations:
- The law prohibits anyone from threatening to commit a crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another person. This includes a prohibition against purposely causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation. Even unintentional conduct is prohibited because the statute also prohibits individuals from acting in reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror or inconvenience.
- The law also prohibits anyone from threatening to kill another person with the purpose to put them in imminent fear of death.
It does not matter whether the threats were issued verbally or in written form; as long as they cause another person to be seriously alarmed and/or in fear of imminent harm, the statements or declarations may be classified as terroristic threats.
If the defendant is accused of delivering a death threat, the prosecution must show that the defendant had a specific intent to place the victim in imminent fear of death. Additionally, courts may consider whether a reasonable person in the position of the alleged victim would have believed the threat and been placed in imminent fear of death. Again, context matters when making this determination. For example, if a husband has a history of physically abusing his wife, his threats of violence might be more likely to be believed the victim.
Penalties for Terroristic Threats in New Jersey
Terroristic threats are classified as a third degree felony. Anyone convicted of third degree terroristic threats is subject to significant prison time. If you are convicted of this charge, you may be sentenced to 3–5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
If a person is convicted of terroristic threats during a declared period of national, state, or county emergency, the offense may be classified as a second degree felony. This can increase the potential range of state prison time to 5–10 years.
Defenses to a Terroristic Threats Charge in Hamilton NJ
Mere expressions of anger that do not threaten or terrorize another person do not qualify as “terroristic threats.” The terroristic threats law only applies to serious threats that cause another person to fear for their safety. In fact, the statute requires the prosecution to show that the defendant threatened a violent crime, not a disorderly persons offense, in order to establish that the statement rose to the level of a “serious” threat. If the statement does not rise to this level, it might be possible to get the charge downgraded to a lesser offense like stalking or harassment. This matters because harassment is classified as a disorderly persons offense and does not carry the potential for state prison time.
Contact Trenton NJ Terroristic Threats Lawyers
The lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson are prepared to defend you against terroristic threats charges in New Jersey. Call us today to discuss your case, or email us to schedule a free, confidential consultation at our Trenton or Pennington offices.