If you find yourself facing charges for criminal threats or intimidation in the state of Florida, you may wonder if the charges are actually justified—especially if you did not act on the alleged threats. After all, is it illegal just to threaten someone in Florida?
As a matter of fact, making criminal threats or verbal threats against others is prohibited by Florida law in many circumstances, regardless of whether any action has been taken to follow through on them. Therefore, any person faced with charges like these will find it necessary to consult with a reputable attorney to discuss their options for legal defense.
But under what circumstances is it illegal to threaten someone? Familiarizing yourself with the basics of the Florida laws governing threats and intimidation can help you avoid being charged with illegal actions, as well as understand the penalties associated with these violations. Read on for more details about these laws.
What Kind of Threats are Illegal in the State of Florida?
There are several kinds of written threats that Florida law considers to be criminal. These charges can result in punitive action against the convicted. But what are these threats that are taken so seriously by the law? Is it illegal to threaten someone with an injury or bodily harm in writing in the state of Florida?
Absolutely. Threatening to kill or injure someone is prohibited by Florida law if that threat is put in writing and sent to the target or relatives of the target. Furthermore, threatening to commit a terrorist attack or a mass shooting in writing is also punishable by law if published for viewing by the general public. These crimes are taken very seriously and are associated with severe penalties.
The charges are just as valid regardless of the circumstances surrounding the threat, whether they were sent via electronic communication or a physical letter, the threats are still punishable by law whether they were made anonymously or not.
Furthermore, the state does not have to determine that you actually intended to act on the threat to convict you. Proving that the threat was put into writing and delivered to the relevant parties alone will be enough to warrant punitive action.
What Charges Can Be Filed Against Someone for Making Threats?
Making written threats of violence against others is taken very seriously in Florida. As such, convictions are normally met with severe criminal charges and punished to the full extent of the law. Therefore, it is considered to be beyond just a misdemeanor.
The state of Florida classifies making written threats to be a second-degree felony. Felony charges are always associated with serious punishments, often including several years of jail time and significant fines.
Charges like this apply to other kinds of threats and intimidation techniques as well. For example, threats made verbally are just as punishable as written threats. Other kinds of threatening behavior such as stalking and harassment also fall into this category of offense.
If you are being charged with any kind of felony in the second degree, it is in your best interest to hire the most reliable legal representation you can obtain to defend you in court. Without a qualified attorney, your chances of being convicted of a serious crime are much higher.
How Would These Crimes Be Punished?
Because the crime of making and distributing written threats of violence is classified as a felony in the second degree by the state of Florida, the punishments associated with it are going to be relatively severe if found guilty. Felony convictions always incur hefty fines and, more often than not, require the convicted person to serve a jail sentence.
Of course, the specific circumstances regarding your case will determine the amount of the fine and the duration of the potential prison sentence—if you are convicted. However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you will have a better chance of minimizing the severity of your sentence, if you do face conviction.
However, without qualified and highly skilled legal representation, you leave yourself open to a worst-case scenario. In the most extreme cases, those convicted can be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines and have to serve up to 30 years in prison. To avoid this outcome, you will want to secure the best-qualified attorney to handle your unique case.
How Can You Defend Yourself Against These Charges?
A capable criminal defense attorney can help you avoid conviction. Depending on the nature of your criminal threat case, your lawyer will adopt a particular defense strategy to help you either beat the charges or, at the very least, reduce the severity of the penalty as much as possible.
Your attorney will take measures to prove your innocence if you are wrongly accused of a crime you did not commit or false allegations. Some examples of caveats your attorney may use to justify your innocence include:
- If the threat was sent by accident
- If the thread was sent to someone who was not the target or a relative of the target
- If the threat was not published for public viewing
Your lawyer could also argue against the charges if it can be proven that you did not specifically threaten the target with violence or bodily harm, or if the threat is not credible and does not cause the target significant distress.
All of these factors will depend on your case’s specifics, so you should consult with your legal representation about your options in detail.
Need Defense Against Threat Charges?
You should never have to defend yourself against intimidation charges without a qualified and experienced legal professional by your side. Mike G. Law has the representation you need. If you are being faced with charges for threats or intimidation in the state of Florida, contact our legal team for a free consultation today.