Many people believe that the charge of “terroristic threats” in Pennsylvania means to threaten an act of terrorism, such as a bombing or mass shooting. However, the terroristic threats charge encompasses threats of many more acts than those traditionally related to terrorism. The law regarding terroristic threats was written well before the War on Terror began, when the word “terrorism” did not have such specific connotations related to Al Qaeda and other militant groups.
Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2706, a person may be charged with a terroristic threat if he or she communicates a threat to:
- Commit a violent crime meant to terrorize another person;
- Cause the evacuation of a building, public transportation facility, or other place of assembly; or
- Cause a serious public inconvenience.
While the last two are more in line with traditional acts of terrorism, such as bomb threats, the first type of threat may potentially be applied to many different situations. For instance, if you simply threatened to beat up an individual or otherwise physically harm them, you may be charged with a terroristic threat. This means that people who have too much to drink or lose their tempers and make violent threats without thinking may face the stigma of a terrorist.
You always want to avoid a terroristic threat conviction because of the potential collateral consequences, meaning consequences other than jail time, probation, or fines. A terroristic threat conviction on your record may cause serious problems every time you try to go through customs or apply for a job. Even if you received the conviction because of an act completely unrelated to terrorism, the facts of your case will not be reflected on your record and so potential employers will always assume the worst when they see this type of charge. For this reason, if you are facing terroristic threats an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Zeiger Firm will try to get the charges dropped or pursue a plea deal for similar though lees ominous sounding charges, such as disorderly conduct or menace.
Contact a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney for a consultation
If you are facing terroristic threat charges, or any other type of criminal charge, experienced criminal defense attorney Brian Zeiger will work to make sure you obtain the best result possible in your case. Do not hesitate to contact our office today.