Terroristic Threats NJ – Terroristic Threats Charges NJ – NJ Terroristic Threats Penalties – NJ Terroristic Threats Punishments

Terroristic Threats Attorneys in Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County NJ

“What are the punishments, penalties, and defense for terroristic threats charges in New Jersey? Can I beat a terroristic threats case?”

terroristic threats in nj In most cases, “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.  This has become a very common crime in New Jersey, and cases are typically based on one person’s word against another’s.  Unless the alleged threats are actually written, it’s a hard case to prove against you.  Even if the threats are written and physical proof is present, there are a number of defenses that we can use to beat this charge.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC have been handling terroristic threats charges for many years. In fact, several of our attorneys used to prosecute these case for the State of NJ. Now, let them put their experience and expertise to work for you. With offices in Bergen County (Hackensack), Morris County (Morristown), and Essex County (Newark), our attorneys appear in courts throughout northern NJ on a daily basis. Contact our offices now for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

That said, in order to beat any case, it helps to understand the letter of the law:

NJ Terroristic Threats N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3

a. 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 of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if 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 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.

What does the State need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a terroristic threats charge in New Jersey?

While the first element of this statute seems to imply a threat of public safety, most terroristic threats charges stem from issues of domestic violence.  There are far fewer bomb threats than there are instances of verbal threats like “I’m going to kill you.”  While these issues most commonly occur between people that know each other, instances of road rage or even alcohol fueled fights can result in a terrorstic threats charge between perfect strangers.

The only element that needs to be present for this charge to exist is the threat of physical injury (i.e. “I’m going to break your leg”), damage to one’s property (i.e. “I’m going to burn your house down”), or even injury to an individual of importance to the threatened party (i.e. “I am going to kill your daughter.”)  This threat also has to reasonably cause fear.  If two friends are joking around and one crosses the line by saying something like, “If the 49ers win the superbowl, I’m going to burn your house down,” it’s not necessarily reasonable to assume that its reasonable to take the threat seriously.

If a reasonable person believes that the threat is real and that there is a legitimate chance that it might actually be carried out, then a terroristic threat exists.  That said, courts have found that a serious threat is not just a temper tantrum or burst of anger in which some irrational threats are shouted.  In reality, courts are going to look at all of the facts surrounding the case, and determine whether or not these threats fall under the statute.

To defend you in court, we need to challenge any of the three elements that need to exist for your charge to stick.  If any one of these elements is not present, you can not be found guilty.

In order for you to be found guilty of terroristic threats in NJ, these three elements have to exist in your case: 1.) You made a threat.  2.) The threat implied that you were going to commit an act of violence 3.) The threat was made with the intent to “terrorize” the party that received the threat.  As a New Jersey criminal defense attorney, it’s my job to cast doubt on any one of these elements, even if it’s merely to dispute your intent to terrorize the individual.  If any one element doesn’t exist, you will win your case.

Again, if convicted, you face 3-5 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.  As you might have read in the statute earlier, if you are convicted during a time of governmentally decreed emergency, the crime is graded higher, as a second degree crime.  It is not considered to be a valid defense if you say, “I didn’t know it was a time of emergency”.  Second degree crimes in NJ are punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison and fines of up to $150,000.  While frequently a “he said/she said” crime, you are going to need a serious defense.

Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Terroristic Threats Charges

FAQ: Am I going to jail if I have no prior criminal history?

In most cases, the answer is no. If you are facing a third degree terroristic threats charge, you are facing 3-5 years in prison but there is a presumption of no jail time for first time felony offenders. This means that, it is presumed that the Judge will sentence you to probation even if you are convicted. However, if you are facing a second degree terroristic threats charge, this is a more serious offense which involves 5-10 years in prison if convicted and it has a presumption of jail time for first time offenders. So it is very important to understand your charges and the degree of your charges which can result in very different outcomes.

FAQ: Am I eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program? 

If you have no prior criminal record and you have never used a diversionary first time offender program before (such as PTI, conditional discharge, or conditional dismissal), then you are eligible to apply for PTI. PTI is usually reserved for third and fourth degree felony offenses in New Jersey like this. However, if you are facing a second degree terroristic threats charge, you may still be able to get PTI even though this is a more serious offense. However, you can’t even apply to PTI on a second degree offense in New Jersey unless you get permission from the State (Prosecutor’s office).

Arrested for Terroristic Threats in NJ? Contact Us Now for Help

If you or a loved one is facing a terroristic threats charge in New Jersey, contact us now for immediate assistance. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.


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