The Penalty for Verbally Threatening Someone in Massachusetts

The Penalty for Verbally Threatening Someone in Massachusetts

We all know that it is easy to get caught up in the moment when you are arguing with someone. Before you know it, you are making threats against them and putting yourself in a very precious situation from a legal standpoint. But is threatening someone really illegal in Massachusetts? What about your freedom of speech? In reality, the line between making a threat and simply insulting someone can be thin.

If you are facing legal consequences as a result of an alleged threat you made against someone, it is important to get help from a legal professional as soon as possible. Team up with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Threats can result in serious offenses, but our skilled lawyers can help you mitigate any legal consequences you might be facing.

Threatening to Commit a Crime
Threatening to commit a crime is illegal in Massachusetts. If you threaten to commit a crime against a particular victim, you will likely be charged with this offense. However, there are some important things to remember about how this crime is handled in the Bay State. First of all, your threat must be made against a particular person or a group of people. If your threat is vague and open-ended without a clear, specific target, it will be difficult to convict you of this crime.

In addition, there must be an element of “reasonable intent” accompanying the threat. This means that the victim must reasonably believe that you actually intended to follow through with the threat. For example, if you threaten to fire a nuclear warhead at someone, a reasonable person would not take this threat seriously, as the average citizen does not have access to this kind of weaponry.

You also need to have threatened to commit a criminal act. If you threaten to do something that does not qualify as a criminal act, then it is not a criminal threat. For example, you might threaten to cut down your neighbor’s tree after a dispute. However, this will most likely classify as a civil offense rather than a criminal action, and so you would not be guilty of making a criminal threat.

In addition, criminal threats can only occur between people who share a mutual feeling of animosity toward one another. For example, a threat made between friends may not classify as a criminal act, especially if these friends have a history of joking around.

Can Words Constitute Assault?

Simple words can never be classified as assault in Massachusetts. The right to free speech is protected in the Bay State, and you can say whatever you like so long as there is not an obvious intent to harm another person.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the Massachusetts area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty. We have considerable experience with a wide range of criminal cases. There is no reason you should have to face needless penalties for these alleged crimes. After all, words cannot actually hurt anyone. Reach out today, and we develop an effective action plan together. Contact us at 413-732-8356