While the Constitution of the United States provides everyone with the right to free speech, this is not a right that is absolute. There are certain limitations when it comes to speech. For example, there are prohibitions against libel and slander. In some situations, speech may even constitute a crime, which may occur in the case of a criminal threat. Criminal threats are ones you can be arrested for, and are usually known as a type of malicious harassment, terrorist threat, or if someone threatens to harm or kill another person.
Communication of a Threat and when it Leads to You being Arrested
Criminal threats are ones that involve one person threatening someone else with some type of physical harm. The threat has to be communicated in some degree, while it doesn’t always have to be verbally said. The person may also be arrested if they make a threat through text message or email, or even through some type of non-verbal body languages, such as movements and gestures.
Intent and Fear May Lead to You Being Arrested
A criminal threat is made with the intention that you are making someone else fearful of death or injuries. However, it is not necessary for the victim to actually experience the feeling of terror or fear for you to be arrested. Instead, it is the intention of the person who is making the threat that really matters. The actual intent of the person who has made the threat will be determined by the circumstances of the case.
Reasonableness and Specificity leading to You Being Arrested after a Threat
It is not considered a criminal threat, and one you can be arrested for, if the threat that was made was unreasonable or vague. The threat that is issued has to make those who hear it feel as though there is a real possibility of them being hurt, and the conclusion must be that the treat is imminent, real and credible.
For example, if you make a threat to blow up the entire world unless the waiter brings you a drink right away, no one hearing it would believe this was possible. However, if you walk into a retail establishment, holding a gun and make a threat to shoot the person behind the counter if they don’t give you money, then this is a specific and credible threat you may be arrested for.
If you are Arrested the Penalties You May Face
If you are arrested for a criminal threat, you can face serious consequences. For example, you may be put on probation, face fines of up to $10,000 and time in jail or prison. The severity of your penalties are going to be based on the severity of the threat you made.
If you have been arrested for making a threat, then you need to contact a criminal attorney right away. They will be able to review the facts of your case and help build a defense to have the charges reduced or eliminated.
If you need more help with your criminal situation after being arrested for a criminal threat, contact the attorneys at The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC by calling 202-331-0793.