Although they involve no acts of violence, terroristic threats are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Terroristic threats are those that cause a building to be evacuated or lead to any other type of serious public inconvenience, and they can result in seven years in prison, fines of up to $15,000, and the payment of restitution equal to the cost of the building’s evacuation.
If you are facing allegations of making terroristic threats, it’s important that you acquire legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you make sense of the charges filed against you, craft a defense establishing your innocence, and ensure that all legal proceedings are carried out fairly. The Bucks County terroristic threat lawyers at Young Marr & Associates are able to use their skills to represent clients facing terroristic threats. Get in touch with them as soon as possible; call (866) 781-4058 today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your charges.
Terroristic Threat Charges in Bucks County, PA
Terroristic threats are threats of violence against another individual or group of individuals with the intent to inspire fear. Since speech alone cannot be considered a crime, a terroristic threat must be intended to terrorize, harm, or intimidate; it must be proven that the words behind the threat were meant to frighten the victim. No actual injury to the victim is necessary for a threat to be considered a terroristic threat.
A threat of this type may be either made directly (communicated verbally or through written or electronic means) or indirectly/nonverbally (communicated using actions). Terroristic threats don’t have to be made in person; in fact, they are often made using a phone or on social media. Whether or not the defendant is physically capable of carrying out the threat is irrelevant to the charge.
Proving a Terroristic Threat Charge
To charge someone with making terroristic threats in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, it must be proven that the defendant’s threat caused certain actions. If the defendant caused the evacuation of a building, an assembly, or a facility used for public transportation, they may be charged with making terroristic threats.
Alternatively, a defendant may be charged with making terroristic threats if they cause serious public inconvenience, terror with reckless disregard for the risk, serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard for the consequences, or if they commit a crime of violence with the intention of terrorizing another individual. In Pennsylvania, threats made during highly emotional moments without true intent behind them are not likely to be considered terroristic.
How Terroristic Threats Differ from Reckless Endangerment
Terroristic threat charges are often confused with reckless endangerment charges, but it’s important to note the distinctions between the two. The charge of Reckless Endangerment of Another Person results when the defendant engages in conduct that puts another person in fear of serious bodily injury or death. The alleged victim must exhibit fear of death or harm for a reckless endangerment charge to be made.
The main difference between terroristic threat charges and reckless endangerment charges is that the defendant in a case of reckless endangerment must know that their behavior posed a substantial risk to another person and did it anyway.
Penalties for Terroristic Threats in Bucks County
Most terroristic threat charges are either first-degree misdemeanors or third-degree felonies. Making terroristic threats against individuals in Bucks County usually results in a first-degree misdemeanor charge, which can result in a five-year prison sentence and a fine of between $1,500 and $10,000.
However, a terroristic threat charge is considered a third-degree felony if the defendant’s threats caused the occupants of a building, public transportation facility, or place of assembly to divert from their normal operations. This can result in up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $2,500 and $15,000. A person who has been convicted of terroristic threat charges may also be required to pay for the cost of evacuating the building and expenses related to the use of emergency response personnel.
Defenses Against Terroristic Threat Charges
The defense that you and your attorney use for your terroristic threat charges may vary depending on the exact circumstances surrounding the alleged threats. However, there are some commonly used defenses that may be applicable to your case.
If you and your attorney can prove that there was no intent to cause harm or that the threat was not communicated directly to the victim, the charges against you may be dropped. Other possible defenses include a friendly past relationship with the victim, a statement being made in fun, or a statement being made in frustration or in a moment of transient anger.
A Bucks County defense lawyer can help you deal with your terroristic threat charges by examining your case and the evidence that the prosecution is using against you. An experienced lawyer will be able to ensure that the evidence meets all appropriate legal standards, craft a defense on your behalf, and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Call a Bucks County Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer Today
Acquire legal representation immediately if you are facing allegations of making terroristic threats. Bucks County terroristic threat lawyers from Young Marr & Associates are available to help people throughout the area defend themselves against these charges. Get in touch with them today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call (866) 781-4058 as soon as possible so you can discuss your charges with an experienced terroristic threats attorney.