Death Threats Law in Mississippi

While probably plenty of people mock death threats or make pretend threats all over the country every day, most people aren’t arrested and charged with death threats or criminal threats. In order to be convicted of making a death threat, a variety of factors have to be satisfied. These cases aren’t quite as simple as he said, she said. Since many of these cases involve people with longstanding relationships, potential grudges or other historical issues, it’s important to let your lawyer do the talking. If you’ve been arrested and charged with making death threats, exercise your right to remain silent and wait for your attorney.

Death Threats and Criminal Threats

In the heightened and sensitive criminal justice landscape of our time, death threats and other criminal threats are understandably taken very seriously. It’s important to remember that just because a person is suspected of or arrested for making a death threat, that doesn’t mean he or she is actually guilty. Since these charges are very serious, it’s absolutely critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side as soon after an arrest as possible. Since many of these cases can involve he said, she said testimonies, it’s also important to exercise your right against self-incrimination. If you’ve been arrested, wait for your lawyer before talking with investigators about the case.

Death Threat Scenarios

  • Did you terrorize another person?
  • Did you cause the evacuation of a building, public or private assembly, or facility of public transportation?
  • Did you cause serious public inconvenience?
  • Did you recklessly disregard the risk of causing such inconvenience or terror of others?
A Believable Threat

Really, the most important element of any death threat case is whether or not the threat was believable by a reasonable person. Since many cases involve pretend threats or fake threats, it’s important to be able to distinguish between what is a believable threat and what was just blowing smoke or joking. The prosecution will likely try to build a case in attempts to build credibility on the believability of a threat, so you need an attorney who has demonstrated criminal threats case experience on your side ready to fight for you.

Three Different Kinds of Death Threats

  1. Verbally, in person
  2. In writing
  3. Electronically
Death Threat Defenses

Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, one or more of a variety of different criminal defenses to death threats may be appropriate. For example, if your so-called death threat was not specific, your lawyer may use that in your defense. If the threat was vague or ambiguous, you shouldn’t be convicted of a crime. Furthermore, if the person you threatened could not have even reasonably feel threatened or scared for his or her life, that’s not a credible or believable death threat. The person you threatened actually needed to fear for his or her life in order for a conviction of a death threat. These petty he said, she said cases can typically involve long standing grudges and people who may or may not have made threats and so-called victims who may or may not have even feared for their lives at all.

Elements of a Death Threat

Death threat convictions involve a variety of complicated factors. In order to be convicted of a death threat, a couple of important elements have to be satisfied first. Can the prosecutor prove that you willfully threatened to kill somebody? Did you make the threat verbally, in writing or electronically? Did you truly intended for that person to take that as a death threat? Was the threat clear, immediate, unconditional and specific? Did the death threat cause the person to fear for his or her life? Was the fear reasonable? Short-lived threats and poorly communicated so-called threats can also mean a credible and believable death threat was never actually made.

Penalties for Death Threat Crime

Whether you’re convicted of a felony or misdemeanor death threat crime, there are a variety of different penalties you could face, including fines, incarceration, and jail time. 

Fines
The amount charged can vary depending on the state as well as the circumstances of the crime. Misdemeanor death threat crimes can result in a fine of up to $1000, for example, while felony convictions can be up to $10,000. 

Probation
The probation given to a criminal lasts for approximately 12 months. During this period, the court provides multiple conditions that you must comply with. For example, you will have to maintain employment, avoid more criminal charges, and get permission from the court before leaving the state.

Prison or Jail
Criminal threats can result in substantial jail time. While misdemeanors convictions only lead to up to a year in county jail, felony convictions can result in five years or more. Terrorist threats see the harshest punishments, where the convicted party could face decades in prison.

Factors Considered With Death Threat Crimes

When the court is deciding upon penalties, there are several factors they will take into consideration.

Assault
Some states treat assault and criminal threats very similarly. Assault happens when someone either threatens to use force against another party with threatening actions or attempts to commit bodily harm against another person. However, words on their own cannot be defined as assault. The person must make the threat and then act in a threatening manner to the other individual in order for it to be classified as assault.

Fear and Intent
While the victim of a death threat crime does not necessarily need to feel fear when the threat occurs, there still needs to be the intent of placing someone in fear of death or injury. The court will determine this by evaluating the circumstances surrounding the case.

Communication
When threatening someone, it does not necessarily have to be verbal. In most cases, the person does it physically. A person may use various means of communication when threatening you, including movements, gestures, texts, and emails. However, some states only consider written or verbal threats as criminal threats.

Specificity 
Vague and unreasonable threats will not be considered criminal threats. The threat must be credible, specific, real, and imminent. It should also make the other person/people feel as though they will be killed or injured if they do not comply with your demands.

After a Death Threat Arrest in Jackson

Death threats and other criminal threats can land you in hot water. Since a variety of factors have to be satisfied in order to be convicted of these crimes, it’s essential to have an experienced and proven lawyer on your side as soon as possible after an arrest. Ask for a lawyer, exercise your right to stay silent and let your attorney do the legwork. Emotions are often running high in cases involving death threats and other criminal threats, so don’t get sucked into the drama. You could be digging yourself a deeper hole.

If you or somebody you love is facing death threat charges in or around the Jackson Metro area, contact the skilled legal team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 948-1600 for an immediate case consultation.

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