When Does Speech Become a Threat to Commit a Crime in Massachusetts?
Many people have made off the cuff comments about “I could kill that guy” or something to the same effect during a moment of anger, but when does this become a crime. It only becomes a crime if the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 275 section 2, which governs the crime a Threat to Commit a Crime (Threats), are met. To be convicted a Threats the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
1. You expressed intent to injure a person or property of another, now or in the future,
2. That you intended that your threat be conveyed to a particular person,
3. That the injury threatened, if carried out, would be a crime, and
4. That you made the threat under circumstances which could reasonably have caused the person to whom it was conveyed to fear that you had the intention and ability to carry out the threat.
It is important to remember that not all speech is free and a threat to commit a crime is not protected speech. Additionally, if convicted of the crime of Threats a fine of up to $100 can be imposed and/or a jail sentence of 6 months. Of additional consideration is that often the crime of threats can and often is charged in conjunction with the crime of Witness Intimidation, which is a serious felony. If you have been charged with Threats than it is important to be proactive and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Newton has years of criminal law experience, Call Today for a Free Consultation at 978-995-2014.
David Newton, Esq.