If you make a statement or do something that causes a place to evacuate or a public inconvenience with the intent to terrorize another person or a group of people, you can be charged with terroristic threats. For example, if you are at a shopping mall and you start screaming that there’s a bomb in the building, with the intent to scare people and make them run, you can be arrested for terroristic threats. Intent is the key to how terroristic threats are charged and prosecuted. You do not necessarily need to have the ability to carry out on your threat to be charged.
If you have been charged with terroristic threats, it’s important to hire an experienced Allegheny County criminal lawyer who can protect your rights and mitigate the charges against you. We are experienced attorneys who defend clients on charges ranging from DUI to manslaughter on a daily basis. Call us for a free consultation today at (412) 281-2146.
What is a Terroristic Threat?
You can be charged with terrorist threats if you communicate, either directly or indirectly, a threat to:
- Commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another
- Cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility
- Otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard
Penalties for Terroristic Threats
Making these threats is a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, if the threat caused people to stop their normal activities in a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility, it can be charged as a felony of the third degree.
If you are found guilty, you may be sentenced to pay restitution for the cost of any evacuation. This would include expenses for fire and police response, as well as emergency preparedness response and emergency medical service. You can also be sued in a civil court to recover expenses caused by your threat.
Defending a Terroristic Threats Charge
The first step to defending a terroristic threats charge is finding and hiring an experienced Allegheny County criminal lawyer who can represent you. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we work directly with our clients to understand the circumstances that led to their criminal charges, obtain photo and video footage of the incident, and understand the evidence against our clients. For a terroristic threats charge, we will work to show the Commonwealth that you did not have intent, which is the key element to a terroristic threats charge.