The offense of terroristic threats seems to be becoming more and more common in New Jersey. Whether the charge is the result of a threat to kill, commit violence or engage in another act likely to terrorize another person, a conviction results in a felony that carries penalties that are severe. It is therefore particularly important for an individual to retain a knowledgeable and experienced NJ criminal defense attorney if they have been arrested, charged and/or indicted for making a terroristic threat. The lawyers at our firm are well suited to defend you in this role.
We are theLaw Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall—one of the state’s largest firms specializing in the defense of those accused of violating the criminal code. Our rare and impressive credentials for handling your terroristic threat case include:
We certainly know what you are going through as accomplished litigators who have been helping individuals faced with terroristic threat, aggravated assault, domestic violence and related charges. If you are in the process of being charged, were already arrested or awaiting an indictment, a lawyer with the know-how to assist you is available immediately for a free consultation. Call us at1-877-534-7338to speak to an attorney now.
New Jersey Terroristic Threat Law
The New Jersey Terroristic Threats Law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 and provides as follows:
a. A person is guilty of a crime of thethird degreeif 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 thesecond degreeif 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 thethird degreeif 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.
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Basics of a New Jersey Terroristic Threat Offense
Terroristic threats can arise in a wide range of contexts although the domestic violence setting is probably encountered most often. A terroristic threat can arise with a c0-workers, neighbor, current and former spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends, students or a virtually endless number of other ways. All that is required is a threat of violence against another person whether it is made verbally, in a text or email, or through a third party.
The threats may be to physically injure someone, to damage or destroy their property, or to inflict the same on someone with whom they have an interest. It is not necessary for the threat to be tied to some object but only that it is made and reasonably resulted in fear. Indeed, so long as the circumstances are such that a reasonable person would believe the threat, that it was imminent, and that it could be carrier out, then there is a terroristic threat.
It should also be kept in mind that the terroristic threat law requires a “serious” threat and not just an expression of anger. A threat to commit a disorderly persons offense will not, therefore, support a charge or indictment for terroristic threat.SeeState v. MacIlwraith, 344N.J.Super. 544 (App.Div.2001). In evaluating whether a threat rises to the level of being serious enough to constitute a “terroristic threat”, courts should consider the particular facts of each case and whether a reasonable person in that situation would believe the threat.SeeCesare v. Cesare, 154N.J.394 (1998). Given this standard, selection of the right trial lawyer who knows how to properly argue the facts and law is important.
When the threat is to kill someone in violation of 2C:12-3, the law requires that the accused possess a specific intent to place the victim in imminent fear of death. In other words, the threat must be made under circumstances manifesting a serious promise of death.SeeState v. Dispoto, 189N.J.108 (2007).
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Elements Of Proof
There are three material elements that the prosecutor must establish, beyond reasonable doubt, in order to secure a conviction for a terroristic threat under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3. The state must prove that:
- The accused made a threat;
- The threat was to commit an offense of violence or to kill; and
- The threat was made with the purpose of terrorizing or acted with reckless disregard of the risk that third parties would react in this manner.
A more detailed discussion of the elements of proof can be found in the New Jersey Model Jury Charge for Terroristic Threats.
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NJ Terroristic Threat Penalties
An individual can be charged with either a third degree crime or second degree crime for a terroristic threat. The truth is, however, that a second degree terroristic threat is extremely rare because it only arises if the violation is committed during a period of national, state or county emergency. The overwhelming number of cases therefore involve a third degree terroristic threat charge. The headings below set forth the penalties for each grade of this offense.
- Third Degree Crime. An individual is exposed to a fine of up to $15,000 and 0-5 years in state prison upon conviction for a third degree crime for making a terroristic threat.
- Second Degree Crime. The maximum fine is $150,000 and the range of imprisonment is 5-10 years for a second degree offense.
There are additional consequences when the victim of a terroristic threat is someone protected by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”) of 1991. A restraining order may be issued against the accused when this is the case. This relief precludes any contact between the victim and the accused and also results in parallel proceedings in Family Court to determine whether or not the restraints should become final and permanent.
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Pretrial Intervention To Avoid A Conviction
Pretrial Intervention, which is also referred to as PTI, is a program designed to allow a first time offender to avoid a criminal conviction and associated penalties. Third and fourth degree crimes are eligible for diversion under this program, which typically requires one year of probation. The original terroristic threat complaint or indictment is dismissed upon successful completion of the probationary period of PTI. It must be kept in mind, however, that eligibility does not guarantee that an individual is admitted into the program since prosecutor objection can result in rejection from Pretrial Intervention. Retaining an experienced attorney can go a long way in avoiding such a pitfall.
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Contact Our New Jersey Terroristic Threat Lawyers For Immediate Assistance
An attorney at our firm is certainly well equipped to defend your terroristic threat case irrespective of where it is pending in New Jersey. Our team of former prosecutors and talented defense lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals in counties throughout the state. To speak to a lawyer about the terroristic threat charge that was issued against you, call1-877-534-7338. One of the attorneys will be more than happy to conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of your case and advise you of the best strategy for averting a guilty plea or finding.
Related Terroristic Threat Legal Resources
Atlantic County Terroristic Threat Attorney
Somerset County Terroristic Threat Defense Lawyer
Camden County Terroristic Threat Charges
Burlington County Terroristic Threat Attorneys
Hudson County Terroristic Threat Defense Lawyers
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Not only that, but the threats must have been made under conditions that would lead the victim to reasonably believe in the threats. If you can show prosecutors your threats were objectively unrealistic and no reasonable person would believe them, the charges may be dropped.How long do you go to jail for terroristic threats in New Jersey? ›
“Terroristic threats” is a third degree crime in New Jersey, which means you can be punished with up to 3-5 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000 if you are convicted of this offense.Is terroristic threat a felony in New Jersey? ›
The offense of terroristic threats seems to be becoming more and more common in New Jersey. Whether the charge is the result of a threat to kill, commit violence or engage in another act likely to terrorize another person, a conviction results in a felony that carries penalties that are severe.What constitutes a terroristic threat in NJ? ›
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 ...Can victim drop charges in New Jersey? ›
New Jersey does not need a victim to “file charges” against an abuser, so they do not give victims a right to “drop charges.”What does terroristic threat cause fear of imminent mean? ›
The most common subsections, at least in Travis County, for Terroristic Threat Causing Fear or Imminent SBI involves a person who threatens to commit any offense involving violence with intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.Can you go to jail for threatening someone in NJ? ›
§ 2C:12-3 (2002). Threatening to commit a violent crime or threatening to kill someone and reasonably causing the victim to fear for their life is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Under New Jersey law, threats can also qualify as criminal coercion.What is a terroristic threat to commit crime of violence in New Jersey? ›
New Jersey Statutory Definition of a Terroristic Threat
Under the New Jersey Terroristic Threat statute, a person is guilty of the crime of terroristic threats if he or she threatens to commit a crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another.
NJ Statute 2C:33-4 considers it harassment when a person: Targets someone else. Behaves in a manner meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize, and. Creates reasonable fear in the victim for their safety or the safety of their family or property.What is the statute of limitations on terroristic threats in New Jersey? ›
There is no statute of limitations for murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, or terrorism crimes. There is a 7 year statute of limitations for a charge of bribery of a government official, official misconduct, and other related offenses. Most other indictable felonies have a statute of limitation of 5 years.
According to the New Jersey statutes, a simple assault is any assault that: Inflicts, or attempts to inflict, bodily injury to another person, or. Negligently causes bodily injury to someone else through the use of a deadly weapon, or. Attempts, by physical menace, to place someone else in fear of serious injury.What is the sentence for terroristic threats in PA? ›
Penalties for Making Terroristic Threats
Terroristic threats are punished severely in Pennsylvania. If you are accused of this crime, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, resulting in fines of up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in jail if convicted.
(1) A person commits terroristic threats if he or she threatens to commit any crime of violence: (a) With the intent to terrorize another; (b) With the intent of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation; or.What is terroristic threats and acts? ›
(b)(1) A person commits the offense of a terroristic threat when he or she threatens to : (A) Commit any crime of violence; (B) Release any hazardous substance; or. (C) Burn or damage property.What is terroristic conduct? ›
criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international ...What is a motion to dismiss an indictment in NJ? ›
A Motion to dismiss an indictment is used if the evidence was insufficient to support the charges within the indictment and it can be based on several factors, including the State's failure to properly instruct the Grand Jury and/or the State's witnesses misleading the Grand Jury.Is it illegal to threaten someone in NJ? ›
§ 2C:12-3 (2002). Threatening to commit a violent crime or threatening to kill someone and reasonably causing the victim to fear for their life is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Under New Jersey law, threats can also qualify as criminal coercion.How do I drop an assault charge in NJ? ›
“Plea deals” or “plea agreements” are some of the most common ways to get charges dropped. In these agreements, defense attorneys and prosecutors negotiate to arrive at some reasonable agreement that helps the prosecution avoid the time and expense of trial and still sees the defendant face reasonable punishment.