Terroristic Threats

New Jersey Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer

Have you been charged or indicted with making terroristic threats in New Jersey?

Since 9/11 America's fear of terrorism has made people quick to assume the guilt of anyone accused of terroristic threats. Unfortunately, accusations of terroristic threats can easily be false because they often boil down to one person's word against another. The positive side of this is that these accusations are defensible in numerous ways such as by proving the accused had no intent to cause terror, the victim's fear was unreasonable, or the threat was not imminent. The outcomes of these charges are often based on the specific facts of each case, and unless all the elements of the crime are proved, the charges against you must be dismissed.

I am Anthony N. Palumbo of the firm Palumbo & Renaud, and as a criminal defense attorney with over 35 years of trial experience, I know what it takes to defend your case. Not only am I a defense attorney, but I am also a former prosecutor and I know how to strike down the elements the prosecution must prove to obtain a conviction. Contact me today for a free initial consultation at 866-664-8118 , and we can discuss some possible defenses for you. Our firm defends individuals accused of crimes throughout the State of New Jersey including Union County, Middlesex County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Essex County, Morris County, Ocean County and Monmouth County. While this page can't replace the valuable role an attorney can play in your case, it should help answer your immediate questions by explaining the elements of the crime and attaching penalties if convicted.

The Elements of the Crime

In order to be convicted of a terroristic threat all the elements of the crime must be proved. The elements of a crime are like building blocks because they must all be stacked together in order for a conviction. If a defense attorney can show that any one of the elements is not present, the charge must be dismissed. An experienced attorney will be able to identify the weak elements in the prosecution's case and strike them out. Let's take a look at the general elements the prosecution must prove in order to obtain a conviction of terroristic threats.

General Elements:

  • A threat of a crime of violence was made; and
  • With the purpose to cause fear to the victim; and
  • The threat was serious; and
  • The threat caused reasonable fear in the victim; and
  • The threat could actually occur

Let's take a closer look at some of these elements.

  • Reasonable: It must be shown that a reasonable person in the situation would have believed the threat was about to happen. For example, if an incarcerated individual threatens to personally beat his girlfriend to death within the next few hours, it would not be reasonable for her to believe that it would actually happen because he is in jail.
  • Imminent: It must be possible for the threat to occur very soon. If a person from another country calls someone in the United States and threatens to come to their house and shoot them, this is not a terroristic threat because it is not imminent. It is not about to happen because the person making the threat is very far away. An experienced attorney may be able to defend your case on grounds the threat was not imminent based on the circumstances of the parties.
  • Serious: The threat must also be serious. It cannot be something said in a temporary moment of anger like telling your girlfriend that you hate her and wish she was dead while storming out of the room. In the same right, a threat to commit a disorderly persons offense is not serious enough to result in a charge of terroristic threat.
  • Threat: A threat may be written or spoken. It may be a threat of physical injury to a person or of injury to a person's property.

Statutory Language

Now that you have a better understanding of what is required for a conviction, let's take a look at how the New Jersey statute defines when a terroristic threat has been committed. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, the crime of terroristic threats has been committed when a person threatens to commit any crime of violence with any of the following elements.

  • With the purpose to terrorize another; or
  • To cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, facility of public transportation; or
  • Otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience; or
  • In reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.

If a person threatens to commit a crime of violence with any of the above elements during a declared period of national, state or county emergency, the crime will be increased from a 3 rd degree crime to a 2 nd degree crime.

It is a 3 rd degree crime to threaten 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.

Penalties if Convicted

3 rd Degree Crime : As mentioned above, most crimes of terroristic threats are 3 rd degree crimes which carry penalties of:

  • 3 to 5 years in prison
  • Up to a $75,000 fine

2 nd Degree Crime : However, if the crime takes place during a national, state or county emergency then the crime will be upgraded to a 2 nd degree crime which carries penalties of:

  • 5 to 10 years in prison
  • Up to a $250,000 fine

If you have been charged or indicted with terroristic threats in New Jersey, you need a New Jersey terroristic threat Attorney. With over 35 years of criminal trial experience I can defend your case any number of ways by proving that the victim's fear was not reasonable, the threat was not imminent, the threat was made in a moment of fleeting anger, or the accused had no real intention of causing fear in the victim.

As a former Cranford prosecutor, I am familiar with both sides of the law and I know which defenses will work for you in court. Don't take a chance on a less experienced attorney. Contact me today for a free initial consultation at 866-664-8118 and let's talk about some possible defenses for your case. I will aggressively defend your case and make sure your right to be innocent until proven guilty is respected and upheld.