You might have thought that a threat is protected under the First Amendment. However, there are some threats that are not protected under free speech and can instead lead to penalties for the individual making the threat, including jail time.
What Constitutes a Threat
In some states, a threat can be as little as a physical gesture. In other states, the threat must be communicated orally or in written form. It must be clear that the individual had the intention of intimidating you. If it is clear that the individual was joking with you, this would often not be treated as a threat. Also, if the threat is vague, such as "I'm going to get you," or if the threat is unlikely to be carried out, the threat might not be taken seriously.
Report the Threat to the Police
When you are threatened, you should contact the police. Regardless of whether the police take the threat seriously, by reporting it, you will have a record of these threats and you will have more evidence in the event that your case is taken to court.
The Police Procedure
After reporting the threat to the police, the officer will then investigate the threat and may ask for evidence of the threat. If evidence is uncovered, the officer will refer the case to the prosecutor.
If someone threatens you, having a witness will increase your chances that you will be able to press charges. The more credible the witnesses and the more witnesses you have, the better. Sometimes, the threat will be communicated to you through text either online or through a cell phone. This situation makes it much easier to press charges because you will have the texts as evidence. At the very least, this will increase the chances of getting a more permanent restraining order.
When you do not have a witness, your word will be against the individual making the threat. But even if the individual threatening you denies having threatened you, there is the option of a restraining order. Then, if the individual threatening you violates the restraining order, he or she can be arrested.
Threatening someone can be classified under criminal harassment. This is when an individual is following you, when the individual frequently visits or calls you when you ask them not to, when an individual watches your home or when the individual threatens you or your family. The penalty can vary from state to state, but some cases lead to the plaintiff spending as long as a year in jail. To ensure that you make the strongest case possible, be sure to work with an attorney from a firm like Cross, LaCross, & Murphy PLLC.Share
6 August 2015
When it comes to your personal rights, how much do you really understand the law. About ten years ago, I realized that I didn't really understand my rights when I was accused of something that I knew I didn't do. I could tell that I needed to work with a lawyer who had a better understanding of what I was up against, so I contacted a local team that could help. They were really incredible to work with, and I was impressed with how well they were able to fight the charges. This blog is here for anyone struggling with legal drama.