These types of crimes have a very different meaning today than they did before September 11, 2001, but it is important to remember that everyone accused of a serious crime deserves a zealous defense. The crime of terrorism involves the using the threat of violence or actual violence to instill fear in a group of people.
A person who has been arrested for the crime of terrorism faces serious charges, but the potential penalties may depend on the individual’s criminal record, including whether he has a history of violent crimes, as well as whether a weapon was involved in the terrorist acts or the threats of terrorism. When there are injuries as a result of the terroristic act, the penalties are increased considerably and will be based on the extent of the injuries and whether there were any fatalities. Major property damage also is considered in these cases.
Many people find themselves facing serious criminal charges because they made terroristic threats, but did not actually carry out an act of terrorism. Although a person has the right to freedom of speech in the United States, there are restrictions on this protection. Some types of speech are innately dangerous or damaging. The making of terroristic threats falls within this classification of speech. These threats involve the communicated intention to commit a crime that is likely to result in serious injuries, fatalities, and/or major property damage. In addition, threats that are meant to invoke terror fall within the parameters of the crime.
Terrorism Charges Can Change Your Life in an Instant
A person may find himself facing charges for terroristic threats if he does any of the following:
- The nature of the threat – a threat may be communicated in a variety of ways, including a written document or a verbal communication;
- The specific nature of the threat – in order to fall within the definition of a terroristic threat, it must communicate that the group is in danger of suffering from serious injuries, death, or major property damage;
- The threat must be reasonably possible – a threat that the person is going to give the order for the little blue men on Mars to obliterate a specific group will not be deemed reasonable, but a communication that is believable and involves a threat for possible violent action will suffice to demonstrate a terroristic threat; and
- The threat must have the potential to induce terror – whether or not it has this actual effect does not factor into the analysis in many cases.
A person who is charged with the making of a terroristic threat faces the potential for a life sentence in federal prison.
Acts of terrorism or the making of terroristic threats often are targeted to accomplish the following:
- Create an atmosphere of fear in the general public;
- Create a situation intended to evoke a specific response from the federal government;
- Make individuals in the targeted group afraid if the potential for serious bodily injury or death;
- Interfere with a peaceable assembly;
- Create a situation where there is a significant interruption in critical services, such as the rendering of emergency aid, communications, transportation, the provision of various utilities, or the ability of various agencies to provide services relied on by a wide range of people.
If a person is accused of making terroristic threats or committing an act of terrorism, it is common to have people decree that the accused does not deserve a defense. The nature of this type of crime often evokes a very knee-jerk reaction, but it is important to realize that a zealous defense is a constitutional right, which should not be revoked because of the prejudicial and political response to a specific type of criminal activity.
Greco Neyland, PC Works Hard for Those Who Face Serious Federal Charges
At Greco Neyland, PC, we believe that every person is entitled to a vigorous defense, regardless of the nature of the charges. Our attorneys understand the federal legal system and are prepared to go toe-to-toe with prosecutors in order to obtain a fair outcome for our clients. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (212) 951-1300. We have offices in Manhattan so that we can meet the legal needs of our clients in the most populous area of New York City.