Terroristic Threats N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 governs Terroristic Threats and states:
- 2C:12-3. Terroristic threats
a. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.
b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.
Terroristic Threats explained
An individual is charged with making terroristic threats often in the context of a domestic violence dispute or a dispute between people who have some type of prior relationship. A person is guilty of making terroristic threats when they make any type of threat of violence with the purpose to cause someone else terror or to cause the evacuation of a building, for instance making a false bomb threat, or if they are out to cause some sort of serious public inconvenience. This is always charged as a third degree crime unless this takes place during a period of national state or county emergency wherein someone is essentially causing additional problems for emergency responders when they are already dealing with some type of emergency. In order for the state to win their case, the state must prove the state of mind of the person being charged with the terroristic threat. A person must knowingly make the terroristic threat with the person to terrorize another person or must do it with a reckless disregard for the fact that such a threat may cause terror or inconvenience. Under subsection b of this statute, if someone makes a threat to kill another person, or does something to put someone else in imminent fear of their death under circumstances where the victim has cause to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out and will happen in the near future, then that person will also be guilty of making terroristic threats. This is a much more difficult prong to prove because the state needs to prove that the victim believed in the immediacy of the threat and that there was a likelihood it would be carried out. Off-hand remarks like “Man, I could kill you right now” or “God, I’d like to kill you” are less likely to be viewed as likely to be carried out and therefore an off-hand remark like that may not fall under the statute.
New Jersey Penalties and fines for Terroristic Threats
Terroristic threats are considered a third degree felony offense. An individual convicted of terroristic threats can face up to five years in prison and be fined up to $15,000.
A terroristic threat is considered a second degree offense when the threat is made during a time of National or State emergency. Second offense charges result in a prison sentence of up to ten years, and a fine of $150,000.
Both offenses will result in a permanent criminal record.