Terroristic threat offenses in New Jersey have become more commonplace throughout the years. These accusations are often very subjective as there often exists little to no physical evidence but rather are based on he said/she said allegations. Because of this, it is extremely important to contact skilled legal defense attorneys in any case involving terroristic threats charges. Our attorneys represent individuals charges with erroristic threats across New Jersey and New York. We are here to assist you if you have been arrested, charged, or indicted for making a terroristic threat.
Terroristic Threat Law in New Jersey
New Jersey Terroristic Threats Law provides that:
If an individual commits any violent crime with the intention of terrorizing another individual, causes serious public inconvenience, or causes evacuation of a place of assembly, building, or public transportation facility with no regard of the risk of causing such inconvenience, they are guilty of a Third Degree Offense. If the act occurs during a declared state of emergency by the nation, state, or count, the crime is considered a Second Degree Offense. Lack of knowledge of such a state of emergency is not a valid defense against a second degree terroristic threats charge.
If an individual threatens to kill another individual to for the purpose of intentionally causing that person imminent fear of death and the person threatened has reason to believe the immediacy of the threat of death and the likelihood of the threat being carried out, that individual is guilty of a Third Degree Offense.
To determine if a threat is considered a “terroristic threat,” the facts of each case must be evaluated to see if any reasonable person in the same situation would believe the threat. A terroristic threat may come in many forms and exist regardless of the relationship the accused has with the alleged victims.
Any threat of violence that causes serious alarm may be considered a terroristic threat. Such a threat may be to damage or destroy someone’s property, cause physical injury, or threaten to inflict injury on someone with whom the victim is familiar. These are all considered terroristic threats as long as the person threatened felt imminent fear and had reasonable cause to believe the threat may be carried out. However, such a threat must be considered “serious,” in that in cannot simply be an expression of temporary anger. Selecting the trial lawyer who can argue the facts and understand the law is important to your terroristic threats case.
Penalties for Terroristic Threats
The penalties for a terroristic threats conviction vary across by county in New Jersey and New York.
Most often a terrorist threats charge is a Third Degree Offense unless committed during a county, state, or national emergency, in which case it is a Second Degree Offense.
Under the doctrine of merger, a terroristic threats indictment will merge into a conviction of a higher grade offense. For example, if an individual was convicted for a first degree robbery in addition to a conviction for terroristic threats, the conviction for terroristic threats will be considered a lesser offense that merges into the greater offense, and the individual cannot be penalized separately for each offense.
However, such a merger will not occur if the individual is convicted of a lesser offense in conjunction with a conviction for terroristic threats.
The doctrine of severance exists in this context because individuals are often charged with a restraining order violation in addition to a separate terroristic threats indictment. Under New Jersey State Law, it would be unfair to try an individual who has been indicted for both charges together because the testimony regarding the restraining order would be prejudicial when defending the terroristic threats offense.
While very serious crimes, arrests and indictments for terroristic threats can often be defended with strong legal counsel and a skilled attorney. Because each case is subjective based on its unique facts and circumstances, a knowledgeable attorney such as those at the Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis, P.C., can be invaluable to your case. If you or someone you know is facing terroristic threats charges, contact us immediately so that we may begin planning a strategy on how best to defend you.