In Massachusetts threatening to commit a crime against a person or group is illegal. In the heat of an argument it can be easy to make threats against someone. However, making a threat against someone can be a crime. In Massachusetts, if you make a threat to commit a criminal activity against a specific person, group or personal property you could be charged with a crime. If you are charged with Threats, you can have an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney represent you.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF THREATS TO COMMIT A CRIME IN MASSACHUSETTS?
In order to prove the defendant guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt:
First: That the defendant expressed an intent to injure a person, or property of another, now or in the future;
Second: That the defendant intended that his (her) threat be conveyed to a particular person;
Third: That the injury that was threatened, if carried out, would constitute a crime; and
Fourth: That the defendant made the threat under circumstances which could reasonably have caused the person to whom it was conveyed to fear that the defendant had both the intention and the ability to carry out the threat.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR THREATS TO COMMIT A CRIME IN MASSACHUSETTS?
If you face legal consequences for threatening to commit a crime, you will face misdemeanor charges. This includes the following potential penalties:
Up to six (6) months in jail;
Up to $100 Fine;
Potential Criminal Conviction;
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LAWS FOR THREATS IN MASSACHUSETTS?
The charge of Threats to commit a crime comes from Massachusetts General Law chapter 275 section 2, which states the following: "If complaint is made to any such court or justice that a person has threatened to commit a crime against the person or property of another, such court or justice shall examine the complainant and any witnesses who may be produced, on oath, reduce the complaint to writing and cause it to be subscribed by the complainant.."
Massachusetts General Law chapter 275 section 3, states the following: "If, upon such examination, it is found there is just cause to fear that such crime may be committed, such court or justice shall issue a warrant, reciting the substance of the complaint, and requiring the officer to whom it is directed forthwith to apprehend the person complained of and take him before such justice or some other justice or court having jurisdiction of the cause. Such warrant, if issued by a justice, shall be under his hand."
Massachusetts General Law chapter 275 section 4, states the following: "If the person complained of is convicted, he may be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months. Instead of imposing sentence, the court or justice may order the person complained of to enter into a recognizance, with sufficient sureties, in such sum as the court or justice orders, to keep the peace toward all the people of the commonwealth, and especially toward the person requiring such security, for such term, not exceeding six months, as the court or justice may order. The court or justice may, for good cause, revoke such order or reduce the amount of the recognizance, or order that it be taken without surety."
WHAT ARE DEFENSE STRATEGIES FOR A CHARGE OF THREATS TO COMMIT A CRIME?
If your threat is vague, open ended, and without a clear, specific target and without intent the best defense would be to create reasonable doubt in the elements listed above. There may be First Amendment protections as the charges can only apply to true threats. It is important to retain an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney to help assist in the defense strategy for your threats to commit a crime case.
THE LAW OFFICE OF DAVID ELLISON WILL FIGHT FOR YOU
If you or someone you know has been charged with threats to commit a crime in Massachusetts, contact the Law Office of David Ellison. Attorney Ellison advocates for his clients and fights to protect their rights while trying to achieve the best possible outcome. He understands that facing any criminal charge, no matter how minor, can be stressful, he makes himself available to answer questions and address concerns.