Morris County NJ Terroristic Threats Attorney
Criminal and Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Morristown, New Jersey
The Tormey Law Firm represents clients throughout New Jersey that have been charged with domestic violence related offenses including Aggravated Assault, Criminal Restraint, Terroristic Threats, and Lewdness in Morris County New Jersey.
“Terroristic Threats” is a third degree crime in New Jersey, which means you may be sentenced to three (3) to five (5) years in prison and fines of up to $15,000 if convicted. You need an attorney to defend you in court on these serious charges. The Tormey Law Firm has successfully handled thousands of these types of cases in New Jersey, in Superior Court (indictable/felony level offenses) and Municipal Court (disorderly persons/misdemeanor level offenses). Our former Morris County Prosecutor and criminal defense attorneys possess the tools to defend you or your loved one. We have extensive experience handling domestic violence related offenses including Aggravated Assault, Criminal Restraint, Terroristic Threats, and Harassment in Dover, Whippany, East Hanover, Wharton, Rockaway, Denville, and Morristown.
Terroristic Threats in New Jersey: 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.
NOTE: In the domestic violence context, courts can consider any past history of abuse as a part of a complainant’s individual circumstances in determining whether a reasonable person in those circumstances would have believed the threats at issue. See Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394 (1998).
What You Need to Know about NJ Terroristic Threats Charges
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 terroristic 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 arm”), damage to one’s property (i.e. “I’m going to blow up your car”), or even injury to an individual of importance to the threatened party (i.e. “I am going to kill your family.”) 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 Jets 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.
Penalties for Terroristic Threats in New Jersey
Terroristic Threats is a third degree criminal offense in New Jersey. A third degree offense has a state prison range of three (3) to five (5) years and fines of up to $15,000 if convicted. However, a presumption of non-incarceration exists for first-time offenders. This means that if you have no prior criminal record, you may be considered a good candidate for probation. And depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, you may also be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. If eligible and admitted into the PTI program, the charges will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. As a result, you will have no criminal record.
Contact a Jefferson Twp. NJ Terroristic Threats Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
For additional information regarding terroristic threats or other domestic violence charges in New Jersey, give us a call anytime 24/7 for a telephone consultation at 201-355-5385 or toll-free at 866-949-6948, or you can use the online contact form. A member of our criminal defense team will be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you with an honest assessment of your case.