The State of Utah takes threats of terrorism and violence very seriously. Individuals who make terroristic threats may be prosecuted even if they were incapable of carrying out their threats. A conviction for terroristic threats will ensure that a defendant is behind bars for a number of years. If you or a family member was charged with making a terroristic threat, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City terroristic threats lawyer today. Ogden Criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson appreciates the gravity of a terroristic threat offense and is here to provide you with aggressive legal representation. Overson Law discusses five examples of terroristic threats in Utah.
Utah Threat of Terrorism Laws
Under Utah law, terroristic threats are formally known as “threats of terrorism.” Utah Criminal Code §76-5-107.3 states that threats of terrorism include any offense involving “bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage,” and:
- Threats to use a “weapon of mass destruction”
- Threats to use a “hoax weapon of mass destruction”
However, many terroristic threat cases occur on a smaller scale and often involve the threat of a violent crime. A person can commit a terroristic threat if they intend to:
- Frighten or coerce a “civilian population or to influence or affect the conduct of a government or a unit of government”
- Interfere with the “occupation of a building or a portion of the building, a place to which the public has access, or a facility or vehicle of public transportation operated by a common carrier”
- Cause emergency services to act based on a “serious and substantial risk to the general public”
- Place another person in “fear of imminent serious bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or death”
An individual who makes a terroristic threat and then completes the threatened act can be punished separately for the threat and the actual commission of the threatened act. It is also important to know that a threat can be express or implied.
Terroristic Threat Scenarios
A terroristic threat can take many forms and occur in several different scenarios. Here are 5 examples of terroristic threats:
Threats of Violence
Threatening to hurt someone is the most basic example of terroristic threats. One example of a terroristic threat is proclaiming to another person that you are going to cause them bodily harm by striking them with your vehicle. A threat can be carried out in writing or by expressing the threat a person directly. It does not matter that the individual was not “intimidated or coerced” only that the offender intended for them to be intimidated.
Threats that Interfere with Business Operations
Another threat of terrorism example is threatening to carry out an attack on a business. For example, threatening to shoot employees and customers at a business is a threat of terrorism. Many of these threats cause businesses to shut down and create thousands of dollars in damage to the business and expenses for first responders.
Threats against Government Workers
Making threats to government agencies to force a political action is also another kind of terroristic threat. A clear example of this would be threatening to shoot police officers until a particular law is passed.
Additionally, a bomb threat does not need to rise to the level of a “weapon of mass destruction” to be considered a terroristic threat. Some bombs may be capable of serious destruction without arising to WMD status, and setting off a bomb or other explosives can be a serious crime. Emergency services do not even need to respond for a person to be charged with a terroristic threat, but they usually do respond to bomb threats.
Threatening Property Damage
An example of a threat involving “substantial property damage” can mean several things. Telling another person that you will destroy their vehicle or house is one instance where threats of substantial property damage can lead to criminal charges.
There are various other examples of terror threats that an experienced Utah criminal lawyer can help you handle.
Penalties for Breaking Utah Terror Threat Laws
The penalties for breaking Utah’s terror threat laws vary depending on the outcome the offender intended. For example, it is a class B misdemeanor to intend for emergency services to take action after making a terroristic threat. Class B misdemeanors carry a maximum jail sentence of up to six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
If the person intended to interrupt the everyday actions of a common public area, they could be charged with a third degree felony. Third degree felonies carry a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison and up to $5,000 in criminal fines.
If an individual went as far as to threaten the use of a weapon of mass destruction, they would be charged with a second degree felony. Second degree felonies have a maximum prison sentence of 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
When you commit a crime, you are often ordered to pay restitution to the victims as part of your damages. If your threats interfere with business operations or cost the government money for first responders, road closures, and other issues, you could be ordered to pay for these harms as part of your sentence.
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Fight Your Terroristic Threat Case
If you or a family member was arrested for terroristic threats, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. Terroristic threat cases may have serious consequences, but Darwin Overson is here to help guide you through your case. To schedule a free consultation with Overson Law, PLLC, call us at (801) 758-2287 or reach us online.