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What are terroristic threats?

Like most people in Ocean County, you've probably heard the old saying about sticks and stones breaking bones, and so forth. However, if you happen to be accused of making terroristic threats, your words may not hurt others, but they certainly can come back to haunt you.  Yet successfully showing that your words were meant to truly terrorize others is often not an easy thing to do.

The Judiciary of the state of New Jersey classifies legitimate threats as words or actions meant to:

  •          Cause or create the possibility of a serious public disturbance.
  •          Create the potential of an evacuation of a meeting place, transportation hub or building.
  •          Terrorize or with no regard of the risk of terrorizing others.

This doesn’t mean that your words alone are enough to convict you, however. They simply serve as one element that authorities may have in the case against you. After that, the state must prove that you actually had the intent to cause the aforementioned scenarios. 

The state recognizes that intent cannot be proven empirically. Instead, it can only be inferred based upon your conduct. This may actually appear to bolster the case against you in that witnesses can’t confirm or deny your accused state of mind. Instead, inference is based upon your actions. The law also takes into account, however, that unique motivations may have influenced you to act.

For example, the passions of a moment could influence you to threaten violence (i.e. “I’m so mad I could kill you!”). Your words may not be held to the standard set forth by this law given that they were made in a moment of fleeting anger. The same hold true for conduct meant to raise an alarm (i.e. reporting that you’d received a bomb threat). 

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
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