Terroristic Threats Charges 2C:12-3

Terroristic Threats Lawyer in Mercer County

The State of New Jersey tends to prosecutes threats of violence just as aggressively as they would actual acts of violence. The theory that the threat was “just words” and that because “they didn’t actually mean it”, it is not illegal, is a serious misconception. In fact, that could not be any more further from the truth. Terroristic threats is either a second or third degree indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. If convicted of terroristic threats, a Defendant could be facing upwards of ten (10) years in a state prison and a fine up to $150,000. On top of that, terroristic threats is one of the most common charges used to obtain a temporary restraining order in Mercer County.

Need Local Attorney for Terroristic Threat Charge in Trenton?

Since the offense of terroristic threats could be considered an act of domestic violence, the new bail reforms which started in January of 2017 could have a significant effect on a Defendant’s pretrial release. In fact, depending on how the detention hearing goes, a Defendant could be held in the Mercer County jail without bail pending trial. If you or a loved one has been charged with terroristic threats, stalking, harassment, aggravated assault, trespassing, unlawful possession of a weapon or served with a temporary restraining order in Mercer County, we can help. The Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver has extensive experience representing clients charged with this type of offense. As you will see below, this is a very serious offense, one that if not handled properly could land a Defendant behind bars for years. Our firm is solely dedicated to defending those accused of crimes in towns throughout Mercer County. If you would like to set up a free consultation with us then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. We are available around the clock to help assist in any way possible. We routinely appear in Courts throughout the Mercer County, including courts like Hamilton Municipal Court, the Lawrenceville Municipal Court, the Robbinsville Municipal Court, the Hightstown Municipal Court, the Trenton Municipal Court, the Hopewell Municipal Court, and Mercer County Superior Court. Here is the breakdown in the difference between a second and third degree felony.

How Serious is a Terroristic Threats Case in New Jersey

It is important to understand that this offense covers simply the making of the threat and not the actual commission of the threat. In other words, just because the individual did not make good on the threat does not negate criminal liability. This offense is extremely common between loved ones and as such tends to be classified as an act of domestic violence. If that occurs, it could open the door to alleged victim being able to obtain a temporary restraining order. This could further complicate and already complicated situation and force the individual to being litigating two separate cases for what amounts to the same conduct. Here is some information on the offense of terroristic threats, including the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Will Be Classified as a Threat in New Jersey?

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 is the governing state in New Jersey for terroristic threats. There are two separate sections in which a Defendant could find themselves being charged under. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a covers situations where a Defendant is alleged to have committed a threat of violence. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b covers situations where a Defendant is alleged to have threatened to kill another.  

In order to be convicted of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The Defendant threatened to commit a crime of violence on another with the purpose to;
    • Terrorize the victim; or
    • To cause an evacuation of a building; or
    • To cause a serious public inconvenience.

A key angle to attack for an experienced criminal defense attorney could be the underlying purpose of the “threat” which is alleged to have been made.

In order to be convicted of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • That the Defendant threatened to kill the victim;
  • That the threat was made with the purpose to put the victim in imminent fear of death; &
  • The the threat was made under circumstances which reasonably caused the person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out.

The key under this section is imminent fear of death this is where an experienced criminal defense attorney can attack the prosecution’s proofs. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation today with us then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0799.

Terroristic Threat is ALWAYS Considered a Felony Offense in NJ

Terroristic threats is classified as a third degree felony offense in New Jersey unless the offense occurred during during a declared period of national or state emergency, then it will be a second degree felony. Here is a breakdown between the potential penalties that one faces if convicted of a second or third degree felony offense in New Jersey.

2nd Degree Felony Terroristic Threat Penalties:

  • 5 to 10 Years in a State Prison;
  • Fine up to $150,000;
  • A Felony Criminal Record.

3rd Degree Felony Threat Sentences:

  • 3 to 5 Years in a State Prison;
  • Fine up to $15,000;
  • A Felony Criminal Record.

Can I Get PTI For a Terroristic Threats Case in Mercer County?

Depending on Defendant’s prior record and the facts surrounding the incident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get the Defendant into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). PTI is a diversionary program in New Jersey whereby if the Defendant completes the program without violating the terms the pending charges will be outright dismissed. This is could be a significaint benefit to the Defendant as at the end of the day, not only will they never have to serve a day in jail but they will also be able to walk away without a criminal record. 

Served with a TRO for making a Threat in Mercer County

If the victim of the threat is classified as a protected party under New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act then they could potentially obtain a temporary restraining order. If a TRO is obtained, this would be a considered a separate case and be litigated in addition to the criminal charge. A TRO will be litigated in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Mercer County Superior Courthouse, which is located in Trenton. Once the TRO is served the next step is to have a final restraining order hearing to determine if a final order is necessary. Although these hearings are separate and apart from the criminal charges, they could have an affect on the criminal trial. As the testimony given by the Defendant at an FRO hearing could be used against them in limited circumstances in their criminal trial. As such, we strongly urge that anyone in this situation please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Where Can I Post Bail For a Terroristic Threats Case in Mercer County?

As of 2017, a loved one no longer has the ability to simply appear at the local precinct and post a cash bail or post a bond to secure the release of an individual. New Jersey now uses what is referred to as a “risk assessment” in order to determine if an individual will be eligible for bail. If the individual accused of terroristic threats is charged under what is known as a Complaint-Warrant then they must be taken from the local precinct to the Mercer County Jail so that Pretrial Services can conduct their risk assessment. This risk assessment will be used by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether or not to release the individual at their Central Judicial Processing Hearing. If they Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office declines to agree to release the individual then a formal bail hearing must be conducted. At that hearing, which typically takes about five days to be scheduled, the Judge will hear arguments from both sides and then make the decision on whether to release the individual on bail. For more information detention hearings and how they operate in Mercer County, please click the link.

Speak to a Terroristic Threats Defense Attorney in Trenton Today – 609-789-0779

As you can see from reading above, this is a very serious offense and one that requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Proetta & Oliver have the experience and skill set required to protect your freedom. Our office routinely represents clients charged with terroristic threats, stalking, eluding, simple assault, harassment, false imprisonment and disorderly conduct. If you have been charged with one of these offenses or any offense for that matter in towns like Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Robbinsville, Trenton, Ewing, Hightstown, West Windsor and Ewing, we can help. If you would like to come into our office of a free face to face consultation with Mr. Oliver or any of the other attorneys on staff then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.