NJ Terroristic Threats Lawyer
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Represents Clients Accused of Making Terroristic Threats
“Terroristic threats” sounds like a very serious allegation – and it is. If you have been accused of making terroristic threats in New Jersey, you need to speak with an NJ terroristic threats lawyer immediately. A terroristic threats charge does not mean that the accused person has committed an act of domestic terrorism. Rather, when a person is charged with making terroristic threats in NJ, it simply means that the person has been accused of threatening violence against someone else. This kind of threat crime charge is actually quite common in New Jersey: it is often filed against individuals in domestic violence cases or violent crime cases, and it may accompany a restraining order application.
Frank T. Luciano is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who defends clients against terroristic threats charges in Paramus, Hackensack, Mahwah, and throughout New Jersey. If you face terroristic threat charges in NJ, you can contact Mr. Luciano anytime to schedule a free consultation.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 – Terroristic Threats Charges in New Jersey
As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 of the New Jersey criminal code, anyone who threatens violence against another person is guilty of making terroristic threats. Of course, the terroristic threats law goes into a bit more detail and provides specifics. The statute explicitly prohibits an individual from:
- Threatening to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize someone.
- Threatening to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility.
- Threatening to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to cause serious public inconvenience.
- Threatening to commit any crime of violence in reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror or inconvenience.
- Threatening to kill someone with the purpose to put the victim in imminent fear of death.
Keep in mind that it is not a defense to a terroristic threats charge to claim that you did not deliver the threat in person. The law is very clear on this point: a person can be charged with terroristic threats in New Jersey even if they made the threat in writing or uttered the threat on the phone. One of the key factors in a terroristic threats case is whether the statements made by the defendant caused the victim to be alarmed or to fear imminent harm. While it might be a defense to argue that the other person could not possibly have believed their life was in danger or that there was a risk of immediate harm, this argument is best made by a qualified criminal defense attorney who understands the relevant areas of the NJ criminal statute.
While most of the provisions of the NJ terroristic threats law require the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended to cause fear, there is a catch-all provision that gives prosecutors wide latitude to bring criminal charges even when the defendant’s conduct was unintentional. If it can be shown that your threats were uttered “in reckless disregard of the risk” that the victim might be alarmed or fear for their life, then you could be found guilty of making terroristic threats. The judge may use a “reasonable person standard” when making this determination: based on the underlying facts of the case, would a reasonable person in the shoes of the victim have believed that their life was in danger?
What Are the Penalties for Terroristic Threats in NJ?
In most cases, terroristic threats is classified as a third degree crime (i.e., felony). This means that a person who is convicted of making terroristic threats is subject to severe penalties, including a sentence of 3-5 years in NJ state prison. However, if you are accused of making a terroristic threat during a declared period of national, state, or county emergency, then you can be charged with a second degree crime and will be subject to a sentence of 5-10 years in NJ state prison. Additionally, New Jersey imposes strict liability for second degree terroristic threats charges. This means that your intent or mental state at the time of the alleged threat is irrelevant when deciding whether you are guilty of the charge.
Regardless of whether you face third degree charges or second degree charges, your case will be heard in the Superior Court located in the county where you allegedly committed the crime. Cases handled in the Superior Court typically require the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who has experience in that court and who knows how to argue at trial. This is especially true in terroristic threats cases because the stakes are so high: a conviction or guilty plea to a violent crime could have repercussions that include prison time, a permanent criminal record, and a restraining order.
Related Charges: Terroristic Threats & Aggravated Assault in Mahwah, NJ
New Jersey prosecutors often bring multiple criminal charges against defendants in the hopes of increasing their leverage to get a guilty plea before trial. In some violent threat crime cases, the defendant finds himself charged with terroristic threats and aggravated assault – particularly if the threat was allegedly carried out. There could also be a weapons offense charge if the defendant is accused of threatening the victim with a handgun, knife, or other deadly weapon. The most important thing to understand if you have been charged with both terroristic threats and aggravated assault is that these two charges don’t necessarily merge. What this means is that a conviction on both criminal charges could result in you serving significant prison time when the judge imposes the sentences consecutively.
Contact Fort Lee Terroristic Threats Attorney Frank T. Luciano Now
Have you been charged with terroristic threats, aggravated assault, or some other violent crime in New Jersey? Experienced NJ criminal defense lawyer Frank T. Luciano can assist you. Mr. Luciano represents clients in criminal matters in the Superior Courts in Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson counties, and he is prepared to represent you. Call or email Mr. Luciano today to schedule a free initial consultation about your terroristic threats case.