Is There a Crime of Threats in Massachusetts?

Yes. In Massachusetts, it is a crime to threaten to commit a crime against the person or property of another. If you have been charged with threatening to commit a crime you should contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss the case and learn about your rights.

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove to Get a Conviction for Threats to Commit a Crime?

The Commonwealth must prove four elements beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a conviction for threats:

  • • First: That the defendant indicated that he or she had the intent to injure a person or the property of another. This can apply to present or future conduct.
  • Second: That the defendant had the specific intent that this threat be expressed to the individual that is the target of the threat.
  • Third: That the injury that was threatened would constitute a crime if the threat were carried out.
  • Fourth: That the threat was made under circumstances that could reasonably have caused the target of the threat fear that the defendant had both the intention and the ability to carry out the threat.
Does the Target of the Threat Have to Become Alarmed in Order for the Prosecution to Win?

No. It is not necessary that the target of the threat become alarmed. However, the trier of fact may consider this fact when evaluating whether the threat was made under circumstances that could have reasonably caused the target to fear that the defendant had the intention and ability to carry out the threat.

Does the Threat Have to Actually Reach the Intended Target?

No. Even if a threat is unsuccessfully communicated to the target the Commonwealth can still go forward on the case. The Commonwealth must only show that the defendant intended that the threat be communicated to the target and that the defendant had the ability and intention to carry the threat out. In a situation in which a defendant made a threat to a third party the Commonwealth must prove that he or she intended the third party to communicate the threat to the victim. The prosecution often relies on direct and circumstantial evidence to prove this element of the crime.

Is a Defendant Usually Arrested for This Crime or Is There a Clerk-Magistrate’s Hearing?

Oftentimes accusations for threatening to commit a crime are resolved through a “Clerk’s Hearing”. That is a process through which a Clerk Magistrate hears evidence and determines whether or not a criminal complaint should issue. At this stage, being represented by an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney can result in criminal charges not issuing and getting the case resolved.

Should Someone Facing This Charge Hire a Lawyer?

If you or someone you know has been charged with threatening to commit a crime, you should contact Attorney Kathleen McCarthy right away. Attorney McCarthy has over twenty-five years of criminal law experience. As a former prosecutor, she knows how both sides think and work. Boston Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Kathleen McCarthy has successfully handled threats cases for her entire career.

What Are the Penalties for Threats to Commit a Crime?

Massachusetts laws permit punishing someone who is convicted of threatening to commit a crime with a $100.00 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail. With the help of a Boston Criminal Lawyer such as Kathleen McCarthy these charges can be dismissed and you can walk away without a criminal record.

In conclusion, threatening to commit a crime pertains to another person or to property. The elements of this crime are satisfied if the person making the threats has the intention and ability in situations which would justify fear on the part of the person threatened. No specific words need be used, nor do words at all have to be used for a person to be convicted of threatening to commit a crime in Massachusetts. Words such as “I will get you for this” or “You will get yours” can, in certain situations, amount to threats under Massachusetts law, provided there is an ability for the person making the threat to carry it out.

If you or someone you know has been charged with threatening to commit a crime, or if someone has applied for a complaint against you for making threats, you should contact Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Kathleen McCarthy online or call 978-975-8060 right now. Time is of the essence in criminal matters, and Attorney McCarthy will respond quickly.