Making a Terroristic Threat is an extremely serious crime which is specifically defined in the New York State Penal Law. When most people think of terrorist threats, they think of the extreme examples, of a person who belongs to a radicalized group of some sort making threats to bomb a specific location or target a specified group of people, but this is not always the case. Terrorist threats can be a much simpler type of threat, meaning one that is not necessarily at the federal level and would only incur state charges. This offense in New York is a class D felony, meaning serious time served if convicted and sentenced at the maximum.
If you have been charged with making terroristic threats, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys.
Before discussing the specifics of the statute, it is important to know that it does not matter if the person making the threats possessed the capability to commit the offense threatened or even if they had the intent to carry out the threat. This means that the act of making the threats alone is enough for the charges to be brought and that there does not need to be additional evidence of a plan of action or preparation for the offense. Additionally, it is not a defense that the threat was not made to a person who would have been a target of the offense. As an example, if a person contacts a news station to state that they have placed a bomb in the local town hall, the offense could still be charged even though the news station is not located in the town hall.
The actual act of making a terroristic threat is defined in the first part of the statute and applies when a person causes a reasonable fear or expectation of the imminent commission of certain offenses. The offenses listed include intending to affect the conduct of a government by kidnapping, assassination or murder, influencing a government policy by coercion or intimidation, and coercing or intimidating a civilian population. Similar to the example already given, it is a good idea for people to know how this law applies because this offense could be charged if a student or group of students decided to play a ‘prank’ by calling in a bomb threat to the school with the intention of having school be closed for the day.
Given the sensitivity to mass shootings in our society sometimes even unintended posts on social media or statements to friends can result in a charge of Making Terroristic Threats. Although, there have been cases dismissing the charge for statements made in private to friends.
This charge can be serious but also complex so it is best to speak to a very experienced criminal lawyer.
Making terroristic threats is a serious offense and being a class D felony can mean the maximum sentence of seven years and a felony conviction on your record. Felony convictions can strip a person of rights afforded to them as citizens, such as owning a firearm or even the possibility of voting in future elections. If you have been charged with making terroristic threats, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys and begin discussing your case. Make sure that your best interests are being represented in the court room by a top criminal defense team.