Atlantic County, NJ Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer

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    New Jersey law criminalizes the act of making a threat of violence with the purpose of terrorizing another. This law applies to more than just threats of blowing up public spaces. You may find yourself facing terroristic threats charges after an altercation at home or in public gets out of control.

    To convict a defendant of using terroristic threats, a New Jersey court must find that the defendant made a threat of a violent crime with the intent to terrorize. The prosecution must also prove that the target’s subsequent fear of imminent harm was reasonable under the circumstances. If convicted, the defendant faces up to three to five years in prison as well as substantial fines.

    With so much on the line, you deserve diligent and resourceful legal assistance. If you find yourself the defendant in a pending terroristic threats case, we strongly urge you to reach out to our Atlantic County terroristic threats defense attorneys. To get a free case evaluation today, call Lombardo Law Group, LLC at (609) 445-4300.

    Elements of a Terrorist Threats Charge in Atlantic County, NJ

    The title of the crime “terroristic threats” causes confusion in many. You may believe that this charge is only applied to situations that you commonly associate with the term “terrorism,” such as announcing your plan to detonate a bomb in a public area. However, the statute that criminalizes terroristic threats extends far further.

    A person may be convicted of making terroristic threats under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-3 if they threaten to commit any violent crime with the intent to terrorize another person or to cause an evacuation or public inconvenience. However, this charge also applies to any person who threatens to kill another person with the purpose of putting them in imminent and reasonable fear of death. As a result, the majority of terroristic threat cases come up in the context of domestic violence, assault, or physical altercations between individuals.

    In order for the prosecution to prove that a defendant made terroristic threats in New Jersey, they will have to prove three fundamental elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. These three elements are as follows:

    1. The defendant made a threat to another person (the “target”).
    2. The threat suggested an imminent act of violence.
    3. The defendant made the threat with the intent to “terrorize” the target of the threat.
    4. The effects of the threat gave the target a reasonable fear of imminent death or violence.

    It is important to note that intent to commit the violent crime that was threatened is not required within the elements. Therefore, the defendant may be convicted of making terroristic threats even if they never actually intended or had the means to act on those threats. Our Atlantic County terroristic threats defense lawyers can help explain the statute and its language to you in detail so that you have an understanding of the crimes of which you have been accused.

    Defending Against Terroristic Threats Charges in Atlantic County, NJ

    Typically, the most hotly contested issue in terroristic threats cases is the issue of reasonableness. In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution must show not only that the target’s fear of the threat was legitimate, but that it was reasonable under the circumstances.

    The jury will determine whether the target’s fears were reasonable by considering whether another person might reasonably feel that the threat was serious and imminent under the same circumstances. The court must examine the threats through the eyes of the target at the time that they were made.

    For instance, imagine a situation where two people are in a parking lot arguing over a parking spot. Driver A tells Driver B, “Give me the spot or I’m going to shoot you,” and exposes the grip of what appears to be a handgun in his waistband. Driver B sees the grip but does not know that the gun is actually a toy and cannot harm her. Under these circumstances, Driver A would likely be guilty of making terroristic threats against Driver B.

    Let’s say, however, that Driver A’s toy pistol was actually a water gun, made of bright pink and yellow plastic. A reasonable person in Driver B’s situation would likely recognize that the gun was not real. Therefore, a jury is much less likely to find that Driver B’s fear of imminent violence was reasonable.

    The two examples featured above are purposefully very different to illustrate the two sides of the reasonableness consideration. However, most situations are not this cut and dry. If you find yourself facing these serious allegations, you will want the help of our Atlantic County terroristic threats defense lawyers.

    Penalties for Making Terroristic Threats in Atlantic County, NJ

    A person who is found to have made terroristic threats in the State of New Jersey will be convicted of a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies will go on your permanent criminal record and may carry serious consequences. A third-degree felony conviction may result in a prison sentence for between three to five years, as well as fines up to $15,000. Other types of third-degree felonies under New Jersey law include most possession charges, arson, and some DUI-related offenses. Third-degree felonies are less serious than second-degree offenses, such as kidnapping and some sexual crimes, but more serious than fourth-degree offenses like minor robbery or stalking.

    A terroristic threat charge may be elevated from third-degree to second-degree if the offense stems from a threat that causes an evacuation or inconvenience and occurs during a period of time when the county, state, or federal government has declared a state of emergency. This exception will apply regardless of whether or not the defendant was aware of the emergency status declaration at the time that they committed the offense.

    Our Atlantic County Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyers Can Help Protect You

    Serious charges deserve serious legal attention. Get help from the experienced Atlantic County terroristic threats defense attorneys at Lombardo Law Group, LLC by calling today at (609) 445-4300.

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    25 Chestnut Street, Ste 2
    Haddonfield New Jersey 08033
    (856) 281-9600
    (877) 340-0609
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    Hammonton, New Jersey
    (609) 561-8100
    (877) 340-0609
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    1014 Atlantic Avenue
    Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401
    (609) 318-6196
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