Terroristic Threats Lawyers in Newark, NJ
Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys Represent Clients Charged with Making Terroristic Threats in Union, Somerset, and Essex Counties
An incident of domestic violence often results in a petition for a restraining order, as well as the filing of criminal charges for making terroristic threats. In fact, terroristic threats charges are extremely common in domestic violence situations, as well as other situations, because they do not require proof of any kind of physical contact. Many times, the charges stem from a “heat of the moment” situation in which emotions ran high, one thing led to another and a verbal altercation escalated to something more serious.
It can be difficult to defend yourself against a terroristic threats charge because of the “he said, she said” nature of the offense. If you have been charged with making terroristic threats, your first course of action should be to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who understands the law in NJ and who can represent you at both a restraining order hearing and a criminal court proceeding.
Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC are experienced criminal defense lawyers who know how to safeguard your interests and protect you against the severe criminal penalties that often come with a conviction for terroristic threats. We have successfully defended countless individuals against violent crime charges, like terroristic threats, throughout Union County, Somerset County and Essex County, NJ, including Elizabeth, Bedminster and South Orange.
Terroristic Threats in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
New Jersey law makes it a crime to direct any kind of threat of violence at another person. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, anyone who threatens to commit a crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize someone else can be charged with making terroristic threats. Although the statute specifies that intent is often an element of the offense, a person can be charged with terroristic threats even if they did not intend to terrorize the other person; the statute also prohibits unintentional conduct by anyone who acts in reckless disregard of the possibility that their words or actions will put another person in fear of bodily harm or death.
When proving a terroristic threats charge, the prosecutor will have to establish certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, the prosecutor needs to show that a reasonable person in the shoes of the victim would have been seriously alarmed or in fear of imminent harm as a result of the defendant’s statements, whether those statements were issued verbally or in a written communication. Sometimes a court will have to dig deep into the defendant’s motivations for making the statement; context matters a great deal when determining whether a particular statement constituted a terroristic threat. If the defendant has a history of making similar threats against the victim, it may be enough to convince the judge that the defendant’s statements in the current case constituted threats that would be believed by the victim.
Death threats are held to a particularly high standard under New Jersey law. In order to establish that a death threat constituted a terroristic threat, the prosecution must show that the threat was issued under circumstances in which the victim would reasonably believe that the defendant might actually carry out the threat and that they might do so immediately.
Penalties for Making Terroristic Threats in Union, Somerset, and Essex Counties
Since NJ law typically classifies terroristic threats as a third degree crime, anyone who is convicted of making terroristic threats can be sentenced to three to five years in New Jersey State Prison. In rare circumstances, such as when the threat is issued during a declared period of national, state or county emergency, a person can be charged with a second degree crime and face a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison.
The best way to avoid the most severe penalties for a terroristic threats charge is to secure competent and knowledgeable legal counsel. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to fight your terroristic threats charges by arguing that your statement did not constitute a “threat” because it was merely an expression of anger. Since the NJ terroristic threats statute only applies to serious threats, a joke or even a flip remark that was never meant to be taken seriously would not qualify as a terroristic threat under the law. Depending on the circumstances of your case, an attorney may be able to get your charges dismissed or downgraded to a lesser offense like stalking or harassment.
Free Consultation with Experienced Terroristic Threats Attorneys in Elizabeth, Bedminster, and South Orange, NJ
Whether your terroristic threats charges arose from a misunderstood joke, a verbal altercation on the street or a domestic violence incident with your spouse or significant other, it is imperative that you have a qualified attorney on your side. Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC is a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys who know how to defend you against a threat crime in New Jersey. You can contact us anytime to discuss your case or schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Scotch Plains, Morristown, Newark, East Brunswick, Clifton or Cherry Hill.