Minnesota Law: Terroristic Threats / Threats of Violence
Under Minnesota state law (Minn. Stat. § 609.713), making a terroristic threat is a felony offense. To be convicted of this crime, prosecutors must prove that a defendant threatened — either directly or indirectly — to commit a crime of violence with the purpose of terrorizing another party.
Do not be confused by the term ‘terroristic’: state prosecutors do not have to prove that the defendant has any involvement or any relation to an international terrorist organization or to a domestic extremist group. Making any active threats of violence that are intended to cause fear and terror can result in a person facing this charge. In fact, the offense was formerly known as “Terroristic Threats,” but was recently changed to “Threats of Violence” to remove this confusion. Some notable examples of the types of conduct that could potentially result in threats of violence charges being filed in Minnesota include:
- Calling in a bomb threat;
- Displaying a weapon or firearm in a threatening manner; and
- Make verbal or written threats of violence, most commonly in the form of a threat to kill another
In many cases, terroristic threat charges are brought in relation to domestic abuse incidents. Beyond that, these charges can also be filed in a wide range of other circumstances. Indeed, it is even possible that a person may face terroristic threat charges for a joke or sarcastic comment that went very wrong. If you or your loved one was charged with making criminal threats of violence in Minnesota, you need to call an experienced Twin Cities defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Federal Law: Terroristic Threats
For the most part, terroristic threats are state-level offenses. Minnesota prosecutors handle the majority of criminal threat cases. That being said, defendants may also face federal charges for making terroristic threats or criminal threats.
Under federal law (25 CFR § 11.402), a person could potentially be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor terroristic threat offense. As a general rule, the federal government will only get involved in the case if the incident is especially serious if the threats involve some type of federal connection — such as a federal building, an airport, the U.S. Postal Service, etc.
If you or your loved one was charged with a federal terroristic threat offense, our Saint Paul, MN federal crimes defense lawyers can help.
Penalties for Making a Threat of Violence
The penalties for making a criminal threat of violence in Minnesota vary based on many different factors. Though, it is important to understand that being charged under Minn. Stat. § 609.713 is always a very serious matter. The maximum penalty for felony terroristic threats in Minnesota is five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Beyond that, defendants facing federal terroristic threat charges could be subject to even more severe criminal penalties.
Special Considerations for Cases Involving Juvenile Defendants
In some cases, terrorist/criminal threat charges are brought against juvenile defendants. The classic example may include a student making a bomb threat, either as a joke or otherwise. As with other juvenile crimes, there are many unique factors and special considerations that must be addressed.
The Minnesota House Research Department notes that rehabilitation is strongly favored for juveniles. When minors are charged with making criminal threats or terroristic threats, every available option for avoiding long-term consequences should be explored.
If your child or underage loved one was arrested and charged with making threats in Minnesota, our top-rated Twin Cities juvenile defense lawyers are standing by, ready to help. We have deep experience representing minors in all aspects of the Minnesota criminal justice and juvenile justice systems.
How Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyers Can Help
If you or your child was charged with making terroristic threats or other criminal threats of violence, it is imperative that you hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. At Arechigo & Stokka, our law firm provides aggressive representation to our clients. We have the skills and legal experience needed to defend clients facing either state charges, federal charges, or both. Among other things, our Twin Cities terroristic threats defense attorneys are prepared to:
- Conduct a free, confidential review of the criminal threat charges;
- Explain the case against you and answer any questions that you may have;
- Investigate the charges — gathering any exonerating evidence; and
- Craft a fully personalized legal defense strategy.
We understand that every terroristic threat case is different. The legal defense that works well for another person may not be applicable to your situation. In some cases, false or trumped-up criminal threat charges must be fought aggressively. We will work to get illegitimate charges dismissed outright. In other cases, the most effective legal defense is one that focuses on finding a plea agreement that keeps our clients out of jail and protects their future.
Our Experience with Terroristic Threats
We have extensive experience with threats of violence.
Recently, we achieved a not guilty jury trial win for one of our clients. You can read more about that case here. We were also able to expunge the crime from his record altogether.
If you would like to learn more about our approach to these cases and perspective on your charge, contact us today for a free consultation.
Possible Defenses: Transitory Anger
Transitory anger is an immediate defense to a charge of terroristic threats that we’ll explore. Transitory anger is a fleeting moment of frustration, perhaps leading to something said during the heat of the moment, but with no real intent to actually follow through with the statement.
It is human nature to express anger, and an expression of anger may be transitory, intended only as a harmless expression of anger, frustration, or annoyance and given without intent to cause fear or harm. The charge of terroristic threats is not meant to encompass verbal threats expressing transitory anger without intent to terrorize.
We will prepare a defense to present to the jury that urges them to find that the anger was not expressed as an actual threat to commit a crime of violence and without the required intent to make the recipient of the statement extremely fearful.
Speak to Our Twin Cities Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyers Today
At Arechigo & Stokka, our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys have the skills and experience needed to handle the complete range of terroristic threat charges. If you or your loved one was charged with making terroristic threats or any related offense, we are here to help.
For a free, fully private initial consultation, please contact our legal team right away. With a law office in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, our defense lawyers serve communities throughout the Twin Cities, including in Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Washington County, Scott County, Carver County, and Dakota County.