Is Threatening Someone Illegal in Arizona?
While the current climate ensures that people feel the full repercussions for any statement they make either in public or online, is it possible to face charges? Threatening and intimidation can likely lead to criminal charges in varying degrees.
It is a crime within Arizona to threaten or intimidate. Within ARS 13-1202, Arizona law lays out that threats and intimidation are serious offenses, which can lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge. These threats, and charges, can arise out of normal or day-to-day confrontations between adults, teens, and even children.
Confrontations and Threats
Confrontations happen. From time to time, people will disagree, and it can end up in both parties saying things they didn’t actually mean. However, when the police arrive on the scene, it is likely that someone involved, if not both parties, will receive either a felony or misdemeanor charges for the words exchanged.
Threats must meet specific requirements. Confrontations won’t explicitly lead to charges, but a threat. To be considered a threat, the person much has voiced that they intended to cause harm to another person, serious damage to their property, threatened to cause serious public inconvenience or any of these conditions in conjunction with gang or crime syndicate activity.
In short, if words specified that there was intent in following through on causing harm to a person, their property, or extreme public inconvenience, then there is the possibility for criminal charges.
Is Threatening a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Typically charges for threats are misdemeanors. But, they can become a felony when additional elements are present. For example, if the threat was in retaliation to someone reporting criminal activity, it could become a felony. Additionally, the threat could be considered for felony-level charges if the person was a member of a street gang.
Charges that arise out of a threat do have a variety of possible defenses. But, you should thoroughly understand exactly what charges you’re up against. Felony charges can come with much more serious consequences, and it may be even more important to ensure that you have a proper defense plan.
Defenses for Threats and Intimidation
If you said something without the intent of threatening or causing harm, then should you be held responsible for how the other person felt? You may need to work with a criminal defense lawyer to show that a threat wasn’t made; it wasn’t true or genuine; the threat wasn’t criminal or that it was in self-defense.
Many people ask, “But what about the First Amendment?” Unfortunately, the right to free speech does not protect the speaker from legal consequences against criminal action or intent. Fighting words and threats don’t fall under the protection of free speech, whereas crass or crude language would come with that protection.
A criminal trial lawyer should be able to shed more light on your charges and possible defenses. You might need to show that there wasn’t the threat of physical force unless it seemed absolutely necessary to protect yourself from physical force.