NJ Terroristic Threats

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“Assault and terroristic threat crimes” is a broad category of New Jersey law that encompasses a wide variety of offenses, ranging from self-explanatory crimes such as simple assault to more nuanced allegations such as harassment and disorderly conduct.

Similarly, these allegations can arise in a host of circumstances and may overlap with other quasi-criminal issues such as restraining orders if they originate during alleged domestic violence incidents. Regardless of the specific case events, an assault or threat crime accusation can spell catastrophic consequences for your life, damaging your reputation, straining your personal relationships, and even subjecting you to a term of incarceration.

If you have been accused of uttering a terroristic threat, whether verbally or by the written word, contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Breslow Law Offices for a free consultation.

NJ Terroristic Threats N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 Law

Threatening a person with such terror as in a terroristic threat is a crime in New Jersey. Terroristic threats amount to “yelling fire in a crowded theater.” In fact, New Jersey’s law says that you could be charged with threatening in a terroristic manner:

  • If you threaten violence in order to cause the evacuation of a building, evacuation of a place of assembly, or facility of public transportation.”   
       
  • If you threaten another person with a crime in order to scare or terrorize that person with imminent fear of death. 
       
  • If the immediacy of the threat causes serious public inconvenience.   
       
  • If you utter threats without caring that those threats might cause inconvenience or terror with reckless disregard of the risk of injury or death.
       
  • If you threaten to kill someone to scare him or her purposely and the victim believes you will actually do it. 

Other threats, such as bomb threats and other terrorist threats that could result in severe injury or death to a group of people, would also be a violation of this subsection.

In order for an accusation to stand as a violation of this subsection, your accuser and the prosecutor must show that your threat meets all of the elements of a terroristic threat as defined by New Jersey statutes and case law.

The Elements of a Terroristic Threat in New Jersey

Your accuser must be able to show that your actions and / or words threatening a crime of violence meet all of the elements defined by statute, including:

  • The accuser must be able to prove you made a threat.   
       
  • The accuser must be able to show that your words showed you intended to commit a violent act.
       
  • The accuser must also show that your words – your threat – were meant to terrorize the accuser.  

If your accuser cannot meet any one of these conditions, a court will most likely not convict you of uttering a terroristic threat. For example, if you threaten to kill someone, and that person doesn’t believe you, then you cannot be charged with uttering a terroristic threat.

Additionally, if you utter something in anger, that is usually not considered a terroristic threat. The threat must be a serious threat. In determining whether a threat is terroristic, a court must consider all of the case facts, plus whether any reasonable person at the receiving end of your tirade would believe what you are saying.

Terroristic Threats Our Criminal Defense Law Firm Handles

The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices defend clients against a myriad of assault and threat charges, some of which include:

New Jersey takes terroristic threats seriously. Someone could accuse you of uttering a terroristic threat in many contexts, including domestic violence, in a work environment, by a neighbor, a student, or any other person you come into contact with. It doesn’t matter how you make that threat, whether verbal, in email, through a third party, or in text. The threat could include injuring someone, a friend or relative of someone, or could even involve the destruction of property. For example, saying you are going to burn down someone’s house could be a terroristic threat if that person believes you would do it.

Penalties If Convicted of New Jersey Terroristic Threats

In most cases, a violation of this law is a crime of third-degree crime. However, if a county emergency, state emergency, or national emergency exists, a violation becomes a second-degree crime. Even if you did not know that a county, state, or national emergency was in place, you could face second-degree charges under this statute.

A third-degree crime could result in a fine of up to $75,000 and/or up-to five years in prison. A second-degree crime could result in a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up-to 10 years in prison. Because the penalties could be severe, contact the law offices of a criminal defense attorney to help you go through the court process in Monmouth County, Newark, Jersey City, and other areas of New Jersey.

What Is Pretrial Intervention and How Can It Help Me?

If you are convicted of an assault and threat crime and charged with a third-degree crime, you could apply for pretrial intervention (PTI). This program is open only to first-time offenders who are convicted of third- or fourth-degree crimes. The program allows the accused to avoid a criminal conviction and the penalties associated with the conviction. If you are accepted into the PTI program, you could serve one year of probation instead of jail time. Upon completing the PTI program, including the probation period, the terroristic threat charge is dismissed.

However, even if you are admitted to the PTI program, the prosecutor could object to your participation in the program, which means that you cannot participate in the program. Without legal advice from criminal defense attorneys, you could end up being charged with a violent crime.

Charged with Terrorist Threats in NJ? Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation

Making a criminal threat is considered a serious crime. That is why you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal threats lawyer at Breslow Law Offices. They work tirelessly for their clients from the moment they are retained through the final verdict. Speak to them today and receive a free comprehensive case evaluation 973-239-8000.