This post will answer the following legal questions on threats:
- What is a threat?
- How does the Commonwealth prove a threat was made?
- What if the victim was not alarmed by the threat?
- What if a threat is made indirectly?
- What if the threat is not successfully communicated?
What is a threat?
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a defendant can be charged with having threatened to commit a crime against the person or property of another.
Threats can be made against (ONE OR BOTH):
- A person, by threatening against his or her personal property
- A person, by threatening against someone else or their property
How does the Commonwealth prove a threat was made?
In order to prove the defendant guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove the following four items beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant must express an intent to injure either a person or property of another person, either now or in the future.
2. The defendant must have intended that his or her threat be conveyed to a particular person.
3. The injury that was threatened, if carried out, would constitute a crime.
4. The defendant must have made the threat under circumstances which could reasonably have caused the person to whom it was conveyed to fear that the intendant had both the intention and ability to carry out the threat.
What if the victim was not alarmed by the threat?
It is not required that the alleged victim actually became apprehensive because of the threat. However, apprehension can be considered in determining whether the Commonwealth has proved the fourth item required to prove a threat: that the intendant had both the intention and ability to carry out a threat.
What if a threat is made indirectly?
The Commonwealth is not required to prove that the threat was communicated directly to the alleged victim.
This element is satisfied if it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intendedthe threat to be conveyed to the alleged victim.
What if the threat is not successfully communicated?
The Commonwealth is not required to prove that the threat was successfully communicated to the alleged victim.
To prove this element, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made a communication that he or she intended would reach the alleged victim, even if he or she was unsuccessful in doing so.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH MAKING THREATS, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.