Meanwhile, the facts underlying these charges remain largely unreported. Instead, this report leaves readers only with the allegation that she fled from police and refused commands to stop. Additionally, the report indicates after police caught her that she “purposefully” coughed on them and claimed to have COVID-19.
Terroristic Threats During a State of Emergency, N.J.S.A. 2c:12-3
A person commits a third degree crime if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to
- terrorize another, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror, or
- cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such evacuation, or
- otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such inconvenience.
The threat may take the form of either words or actions. Additionally, it must convey menace or fear of a crime of violence to the ordinary person. But not if the threat expresses fleeting anger, or the defendant merely intended to alarm.
With respect to various purposes, the State need not prove
- actual terror in the victim, or
- an actual evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation, or
- an actual serious public inconvenience.
Additionally, this is a second degree crime if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. Furthermore, it is not a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency.
A person also commits a third degree crime if he
- threatens to kill another person,
- with the purpose to put the person in imminent fear of death,
- under circumstances that reasonably caused the person to believe the threat was likely to be carried out.
Harassment, N.J.S.A. 2c:33-4
New Jersey courts have held harassment is a lesser included offense of terroristic threats. See, e.g., State v. MacIlwraith, 344 N.J. Super. 544 (App. Div. 2001). Terroristic threats call for proof of a threat. But not if the threat expresses fleeting anger, or the defendant merely intended to alarm.
By the harassment statute, a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, the person
- Makes or causes a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
- Threatens to or actually subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or otherwise offensively touching; or
- Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
any form of communication made by any means, including, but not limited to, any verbal or written communication, communications conveyed by any electronic communication device, which includes but is not limited to, a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system, telephone, including a cordless, cellular or digital telephone, computer, video recorder, fax machine, pager, or any other means of transmitting voice or data and communications made by sign or gesture. N.J.S.A. 2c:1-14.
Did the cops charge you with Terroristic Threats during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Crackdown?
New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Terroristic Threats under N.J.S.A. 2c:12-13.