Threat to Commit a Crime

Threatening to commit a crime is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 275 Section 2. There are four elements that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before one can be convicted of threatening to commit a crime.

  1. The defendant expressed a present or future intent to injure the person and/or property of another person.

  2. The defendant intended that it be conveyed to that particular person. The threat does not have to be communicated directly to the other person as long as he or she intended that it be communicated to the person. For example, this element could be satisfied where a threat is intentionally conveyed through a third party.

  3. If carried out, the injury that was threatened would amount to a crime.

  4. Under the circumstances in which the defendant made the threat, the alleged victim could reasonably fear that the defendant had the ability and the intention to carry it out. This is an objective standard, and the government does not have to prove that the alleged victim actually became apprehensive.

This offense only reaches “true threats” because the law cannot encroach upon speech that is protected by the constitution. “True threats” are distinguishable from trivial threats and other protected, expressive speech such as political hyperbole. Statements that are not threats on their face may be converted into criminal threats when the immediate context is considered, including the defendant’s demeanor and actions. For example, if one says something that is not a threat taken alone but is coupled with an angry posture or tone or an act of violence, then the statement may be converted into a criminal threat.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer (617) 973 5858

If you have been charged with threatening to commit a crime, call Massachusetts criminal defense attorney Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. Attorney Wheeler has been defending persons accused of threats and all other criminal offenses for more than 30 years.

The Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr., located in Boston, can be reached at (617) 973 5858 (24 hours a day and 7 days a week). You can also contact Attorney Wheeler by sending him an e-mail. Initial phone consultations are free. Call as soon as possible so that Attorney Wheeler can get involved at the earliest stage of your case. Attorney Wheeler represents clients from all over Massachusetts, and if you need directions to his office do not hesitate to ask.