New Jersey Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer
Top-Rated Defense Lawyer Helps Clients Beat Terroristic Threats Charges in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and Burlington County, NJ
As a seasoned defense attorney, I have been helping clients handle terroristic threats and other criminal charges for years. As a prosecutor myself, I know how to effectively challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you and uncover evidence of our own to help. I don’t cut corners in my practice. As a result, I have earned hundreds of five-star ratings from my satisfied clients over the years.
A Terroristic threats charge is a third-degree indictable felony offense in New Jersey. As the name suggests, a person can be convicted on terroristic threats charges without actually taking action to hurt someone. Depending upon whether the alleged threat is verbal or written, the prosecution must overcome a number of complex evidentiary issues to convict.
Many—if not most—terroristic threats charges are related to allegations of domestic violence. In other cases, the defendant might be accused of making threats in the heat of an argument or at the workplace. I put my experience and legal skills to work immediately in your case to identify the strongest defense options.
Understanding your rights is the first step to protecting those rights. Call my offices anytime, 24/7, to discuss your charges and possible defense strategies. Your first consultation is always completely free and you are under no obligation to retain my services.
Terrorist Threats is a Third-Degree Crime Under NJSA 2C:12-3
Although the language of NJSA 2C:12-3 can be confusing, to convict on terroristic threats charges, the prosecution must prove several elements, including that the defendant:
- Threatened to commit a violent crime against another person.
- With either the intent to terrorize that person or with reckless disregard for the risk of causing that terror, or
- Threatened to kill someone under circumstances where it was reasonable for the victim to believe in the immediacy and likelihood of the threat if the defendant’s intent was to cause the imminent fear of death.
The prosecution can also charge a defendant with terroristic threats for making a threat that causes a public place to be evacuated or causes serious public inconvenience.
The language in NJSA 2C:12-3(a) elevates the offense to a second-degree crime in certain circumstances. For the more serious charges to apply, the defendant must make the threat in a time of a national, state or local emergency. The prosecution does not have to prove that you knew about the emergency declaration for second-degree charges to apply.
If convicted on third-degree charges, you face between three and five years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines. Second-degree charges carry five to ten years in prison with possible fines of up to $150,000. Whether you made the alleged statement or not, a strong legal defense is key to avoiding these harsh penalties.
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I work to introduce doubt into the minds of the judge, jury and even the prosecution to help you beat the charges. Diversion of your case through the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (“PTI”) may also be an option in your case.
Challenging Terroristic Threats Charges
Contrary to popular belief, the prosecution does not have to prove you made a bomb threat or other similar threat to convict on terroristic threats charges. Most terroristic threats charges arise from private relationships or arguments. However, the prosecution does have to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to convict.
As your terroristic threats defense lawyer, it is my job to cast doubt on the prosecution’s evidence. Possible defense strategies include:
- Challenging whether you made the alleged threat at all, often by discrediting a witness to the argument or verbal interaction
- Casting doubt upon whether it was reasonable for the other person to take your statements seriously
- Establishing that you never intended to cause anyone to feel terror or fear
- Identifying evidence to show that the other person really did not believe your statement
The “reasonableness” element of a terroristic threat charge is important. To convict, the prosecution must prove that it was reasonable for the alleged victim to believe the threat. Circumstances and context are important here. Even if you did say something along the lines of “I’m going to kill you,” that statement alone is not sufficient to convict. The prosecution must prove that you both intended the other person to believe it and that it was reasonable for the other person to believe it.
Contact a Respected Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC Today
If you have been arrested on terroristic threats charges, you can expect that the prosecution will aggressively pursue conviction. At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I personally handle your case to make sure your defense is equally persuasive.
To discuss your case in detail, call or contact my office today for a free case evaluation. I am always available to answer any questions you have and am ready to put my skills to work building your defense. I serve clients in Middlesex and Mercer counties and across New Jersey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Terroristic Threats Charges
Third-degree crimes in New Jersey carry a presumption of non-incarceration. That means, given your history, I can make a strong argument to keep you out of jail even if you are convicted. Pre-trial intervention might also be an option. Pre-trial intervention is an alternative to prosecution for certain first offenders. If you complete the program successfully, you walk away with a clean criminal record (I can help you expunge the arrest itself). In other cases, the judge might agree to probation.
The court can consider any relevant factors, including your history and your past relationship. For example, if you have never been violent in the past, it is less likely that a reasonable person with whom you shared a relationship would be terrorized by a playful threat. The rationality of the statement could also be important. People make exaggerated statements all the time. If there was no reasonable basis for anyone to believe you would follow through, that could form a valid defense.