Fighting Terroristic Threat Charges

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Terroristic Threats - Overview

A Terroristic Threat is a statement that puts another person in “real fear” of danger.
For example, “I have guns. Next time I see you, I’m going to shoot you.” (Third-degree Felony)
Or, “I made a bomb & I’m going to blow up your church”. (Second-degree Felony)
Getting the picture? Think twice before you say something in anger: you just might get arrested for making a Terroristic Threat.
We all get angry. And we all say things we don’t mean when we get angry.
But in New Jersey, you can be charged criminally the next time you blurt something out.

Terroristic Threats- felony or misdemeanor?

A Terroristic Threat can be charged as a 2nd or 3rd-degree Felony.
However, it is most commonly a 3rd-degree charge
Here’s the NJ law on Terroristic Threats 2C:12-3 (b):

b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if 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.

terroristic threats - Penalties

If you have been charged with 2nd-degree Terroristic Threats, you are facing between 5 – 10 years in prison.
If you have been charged with 3rd-degree Terroristic Threats, you are facing between 3 – 5 years in prison.
Now don’t panic.
Although these are serious charges that carry lengthy prison sentences, you still have options.
You may qualify for a special type of probation in New Jersey called Pretrial Intervention.

Terroristic Threats For "Just Making A Comment"?

Any comment made at the wrong time, in the wrong tone, and to the wrong person could result in your arrest.

From time to time we all make innocent comments that inevitably offend people.

The problem is that what we say and how we say can very easily get twisted.

You had no intention of “terrorizing” anyone but that’s not how they took it.

Thousands of people like you get charged with Terroristic Threats for making “comments”.

Terroristic Threat for "texting"?

Absolutely! In fact, your text to someone may be the one piece of evidence that the police will use to arrest you.

Remember, your text is a written communication that stays on the victim’s phone.

You have no control over it after you send it.

The person you text controls everything that was written before & after your message.

When the victim files a complaint, your statement stands alone.

All the police need is your message to generate the complaint.

Terroristic Threats - downgraded

But, this is only in theory. The best strategy to defend you on this type of charge is to fight for a “downgrade”.
We fight for you by persuading the county prosecutor to downgrade your charges.
This is how it works!
Terroristic Threat charges are felonies that start in Superior Court.
A “downgrade” means that your felony will “go down” to a lower court.
The “lower court” in New Jersey is the Municipal Court.
Only misdemeanors and lesser offenses are heard in Municipal Court.
Once we get your charge downgraded, it is out of “felony danger”.

Can Terroristic Threat Charges Get Dismissed?

Every criminal charge in New Jersey can get dismissed!

Of course, this includes Terroristic Threat charges.

Two of the most common ways that these charges get dismissed are:
1) The alleged victim dismisses it; OR
2) Your defense attorney successfully persuades the prosecutor to dismiss.

As Hackensack defense attorneys, we fight to get your case dismissed or downgraded.

During our investigation, we collect every bit of evidence that proves your innocence.

Basically, we uncover the truth and show the prosecutor that there is more than meets the eye.

This process requires patience and professionalism.

We present your side of the story in the light most favorable to you.

Always keep in mind that neither the prosecutor nor the judge was present when you made your comment.

It is our job to re-create the event and all of the circumstances surrounding the statement you made.

Terroristic Threats: will it show up on my record?

If you are convicted of a felony, it will definitely show up on your record.
You have to wait 6 years from the date of conviction before can “expunge” or erase a felony conviction in New Jersey.

Terroristic Threats & additional Charges

You were probably charged with a bundle of crimes. Do not panic, this is very common. You were charged with multiple crimes because the same “act” could fit the description of different crimes. Depending on the information the police have available to them, they can generate a complaint about many crimes. It is our job when we go to court for you to iron everything out.

In addition to Terroristic Threat charges, the police probably charged you with some or all of the following:

Simple Assault; Harassment; Stalking; Criminal Mischief and Criminal Trespass.

Terroristic Threats - Legal Defenses

If you take your case to trial, you are presumed innocent.
It is up to the government to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The government has to prove the following three things:
1) You threatened the victim;
2) You intended to threaten the victim; and
3) “A reasonable person would have believed the threat”.

The hardest thing for the government to prove is that you “intended” to threaten the victim.
If they cannot prove that your motivation was to “put the other person in fear”, then they have to acquit you.

Final Thoughts

Terroristic Threat charges are usually graded as 3rd-degree felonies.
A great strategy is for your lawyer to get the charges downgraded to harassment.
In this way, you’ll be facing a lesser offense instead of a felony.
It’s possible to get your Terroristic Threat charges dismissed, but it’s not that easy.

Most important of all, think twice before you give someone a piece of your mind! You just might get arrested for Terroristic Threats.

Please visit the Areas We Serve & Practice Areas pages for more information.

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How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Experience

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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How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.