Free speech is one thing that differentiates the United States from many other countries. Under the Bill of Rights, you are protected permitted and protected to speak your mind. However, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment. There are, in fact, certain types of speech that are illegal.
One type of speech that is not protected is violent threats. Communicating violent threats is actually a class 1 misdemeanor in the state of North Carolina and comes with its own set of penalties. In fact, in North Carolina, class 1 misdemeanors can result in a fine and up to 120 days in jail.
Requirements for a Charge of Communicating Threats
There are three requirements that must be present in order for someone to be charged with communicating a threat. These include the following:
- The individual must threaten to physically injure someone;
- The individual must communicate this threat to the victim; and
- The individual who is being threatened must reasonably believe that the threat will be executed.
Increasing the Penalties
While you may believe that anything that you say online stays there, it can actually greatly impact you offline as well. Additionally, if you threaten someone outside of the state online, it can actually be considered a federal crime and can greatly increase the penalties you will face.
Another situation that can greatly increase the penalties that you face is if you communicate threats while there is a protective order in place. Making threats when there is a protective order in place firstly violates the protective order. This act alone is considered a Class A1 misdemeanor and can result in up to 150 days in prison. If you are also charged with communicating threats, you can be charged with a Class H felony, which can result in up to 25 months in prison.
Another charge that can increase your penalties is when your communicated threats are considered domestic violence. This can occur when you and the victim share a personal relationship.
Dealing with the Consequences
No matter how you frame it, it is never acceptable to threaten anyone. Whereas you didn’t intend to carry out a threat, you can still be charged with communicating the threat nonetheless and must deal with the consequences.
While you can’t take back what has already been said, you can work with a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney to minimize the outcome.
Attorney Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Communicating a Threat
A conviction for communicating a threat can have a relatively significant impact on you. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!