What is a Terroristic Threat?
According to New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3), an individual can be charged with terroristic threats if he or she threatens to commit a crime of violence towards another person causing the victim to have an imminent fear of death from the offender. A person is also guilty of terroristic threats if he or she 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.
Degrees of Terroristic Threats in NJ
A terroristic threat offense is considered to be a third degree offense when an individual causes imminent fear of death in another as a result of their threats. However, if the threat was made in a time of county, state or national emergency, the charge will be upgraded to a second degree crime. It is not a viable defense to claim no knowledge of a state of emergency.
Defenses for Terroristic Threats
It is important to obtain qualified and experienced legal counsel to provide the best defense possible for a serious charge like terroristic threats. One way to dispute a terroristic threats charge is by establishing that the victim could not have reasonably feared serious injury or death as a result of the alleged threat committed by the accused. In order to prove this, courts often use what is called the reasonable person test, which asks whether a reasonable person fear imminent danger in the same circumstances. Proving that the victim merely overreacted is often a common strategy for the defense.
Sentencing for Terroristic Threats
If the terroristic threat is upgraded due to a state of emergency, the offender could face up to ten years of incarceration for being found guilty of a terroristic threat. If the terroristic threat is a third degree offense, the offender could face a maximum of five years in jail.
Hire a NJ Lawyer for Your Terroristic Threats Charge
Due to the serious nature of these charges, it is best to get an attorney who can help you navigate through these times. If you are charged with making a terroristic threat, it is important to contact the offices of Villani & DeLuca immediately to ensure we get started making the best defense possible for you as soon as possible. Call today for your free initial consultation!