No matter your intent, making a terroristic threat can come with severe consequences. Even if you devised an ill-advised prank and yelled “Fire” in a movie theater, you can be charged with a terroristic threat. In Pennsylvania, the terroristic threat can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony depending on the circumstance. Terroristic threats can be charged as a felony if they cause people a group of people to evacuate or take cover in a public place, building, or area of public transportation.
If you or a loved one recently received a terroristic threat charge, you should act immediately and contact a terroristic threat attorney. Depending on your situation, you may be responsible to pay exuberant amounts to cover responder costs and any medical response costs. You would also become liable for a number of civil lawsuits from anyone who was forced to evacuate or take cover as a result of your threat. An experienced attorney will defend your intent and work to reduce or clear any charges. Attorneys at SMT Legal will utilize experience in many forms of law, confidence in the courtroom, and compassion in personal dealings to help you get the best results from your difficult situation.
What Constitutes Terroristic Threats in PA?
There are multiple ways a terroristic threat can be made in Pennsylvania. Terroristic threats can be communicated directly or indirectly. Terroristic threats include communicating your intent to commit a violent crime. Any threat or statement that causes evacuation in a public place is also considered a terroristic threat. If your threat was made recklessly and resulted in sustainable public inconvenience or fear, you may be charged with a terrorist threat.
The intent is a key component of terroristic threats. At one point or another, most people make a playful threat as a joke or a turn of phrase. In order to distinguish, a specific illegal or terrorizing purpose must be involved. Some examples of this include intent to terrorize a specific victim, intent to disrupt a public event, intended to intimidate witnesses or police officers.
The type of victims is also a key component of the severity of terroristic threat charges. For example, terroristic threats can be considered more severe if they are made to a witness of a crime, a prior victim of a terroristic threat you made, a victim being threatened because of their race, or organized religion.