Terroristic threats in NJ can fall into one of the following:
(1) You threatened somebody.
(2) You threatened to commit a violent act.
(3) You threatened to commit a violent act to;
a. terrorize the other person, or cause the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience:
b. You acted with reckless disregard to terrorize the other person or cause such inconvenience: or
(4) You ou threatened to kill another person in such a way that the other person reasonably believed that you could kill them.
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What are some examples of terroristic threats?
Everyday people have disagreements with other people. Sometimes these disagreements became heated. In today’s world, especially with the growth of social media, more and more people are charged with making terroristic threats in New Jersey. Terroristic threats charges usually bring other charges. Common companion charges include assault, harassment, criminal mischief, and domestic violence.
Yes. Terroristic threats in New Jersey are a third-degree felony.
Everything depends on the situation.
If you are found guilty of a third-degree terrorist threat charge, you will face 3 to 5 years in prison. However, there is a “presumption against incarceration”. This means that the court will not consider jail as a first option. The court will consider other penalties, such as probation.
On the other hand, if you are found guilty of a second-degree terrorist threat charge, you will face 5 to 10 years in prison. There is a “presumption for incarceration”. This means that the court will consider jail as a first option.
Again, everything depends on all the circumstances surrounding your case. At sentencing, the court will examine your criminal history. The court will listen to the arguments made by your defense counsel as to why you should not go to prison, or why you should be sentenced to less time than the prosecutor is requesting.
One of our Newark cases involved a client charged with terrorist threats. During a heated argument with his boss, our client made a threatening comment. At the end of the trial, the court found him guilty. Since he had a clean record, we successfully argued to have him admitted into the conditional dismissal program.
We understand your frustration, but most prosecutors and judges see things differently. Even if you’re upset, you are still held responsible for your actions. Everyone’s case is different and facts make cases.
For example, in Jersey City, our client’s neighbor was having a loud party. Our client called his neighbor and stated, “If you don’t stop playing that loud music, I’m going to drop a bomb on your house!” Through plea negotiations, we persuaded the prosecutor to dismiss the charges. We argued that our client’s comment was sarcastic & stupid but did not rise to the level of a crime.
On the other hand, one of our Paterson clients walked over to his neighbor’s home, knocked on the door, and flashed his gun. The Passaic County prosecutor had a very strong case for terroristic threats & we were not able to get the charges dismissed.
A momentary bout of angry words is not necessarily a terroristic threat. Irrational threats are less likely to be considered terroristic threats than a threat that appears realistic. The court must find that the threat appeared real to a reasonable person.
New Jersey has a law specifically for “Cyberbullying”.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4.1, cyberbullying is a form of harassment.
It is a fourth-degree crime or third-degree crime, depending on the circumstances
The law says that “Cyber-harassment” is when a person:
Makes a communication in an online capacity by any electronic device or through a social networking site; with the purpose to harass another; and the person:
(1) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person;
(2) knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or
(3) threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.
So, if you make an online threat to harm a person, or a threat to harm the person’s property someone online, you could be charged with cyber-harassment.
Or if you post or send lewd photographs of a person, with the intent to cause emotional pain, you may be charged with cyber-harassment.
Let’s get a couple of things clear.
You have a sacred First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech. No one is taking that away from you. Expressing your opinion of someone online is not necessarily illegal.
However, if you threaten to harm someone online, you may face terroristic threats charges. It all depends on what you said, and why you said it. At trial, a court will examine all the facts surrounding your case.
Terroristic threat charges usually come in “bundles”.
If you get these charges, you probably facing other offenses like Harassment, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Justice, Eluding, and Simple Assault.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a Disorderly Persons offense, you face up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar fine.
You must wait for five years from the date you completed your sentence before you can get an expungement.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a felony, you must wait many years to get your records expunged.
You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.
Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.
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