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People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

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People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

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Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

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Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

What Defenses Work Against Criminal Threat Charges in New York?

What Defenses Work Against Criminal Threat Charges in New York?

Dealing with a criminal threat charge in New York can be really scary and confusing. I totally get it – you’re probably freaking out about what’s gonna happen next. I would be too! The good news is that there are some solid legal defenses that can help fight these types of charges. In this article, we’ll break down what actually constitutes a criminal threat, the specific NY laws around these charges, and the top defenses that experienced criminal defense attorneys use to protect their clients.

Understanding Criminal Threats

A criminal threat charge means the prosecutor believes you intentionally or knowingly made statements that put someone in fear for their safety. These threats have to be pretty serious – not just everyday insults or arguments.

The legal definition under New York Penal Code §135.60 says a criminal threat means threatening to:

  • Cause physical harm to someone
  • Damage or destroy someone’s property
  • Subject someone to physical confinement or restraint
  • Commit a felony (serious crime) against someone

The threat also has to be made “with intent to compel…a civilian population to engage in conduct against its will” or with “a purpose to effect the outcome of any vote.”

So basically, the threat needs to be intended to scare or control someone’s actions in some way.

Criminal Threat Charges in New York

If convicted of making a criminal threat in NY, you’re looking at felony-level charges. The specific laws used to prosecute criminal threats include:

  • Aggravated harassment – When you threaten to harm someone and their mental/emotional health suffers as a result. This is a class E felony under NYS Penal Code §240.31.
  • Stalking charges – If you make ongoing threats as part of a pattern of stalking behavior against someone. Charged as a class D felony under NYS Penal Code §120.45.
  • Conspiracy charges – If you and accomplices planned out threats intended to intimidate or control someone’s actions. Conspiracy to commit a crime is a class B felony in NY.

As you can see, even threatening language can bring severe criminal penalties under New York law. These cases also often play out publicly in the media, causing extensive reputation damage on top of potential jail time.

So putting up a strong legal fight is critical if you’re facing criminal threat accusations.

Top Defenses Against Threat Charges in NY

The good news is experienced NY criminal defense lawyers have access to proven-effective defenses that can get these types of charges reduced or dismissed. Some of the most common defenses include:

You Didn’t Actually Threaten Anybody

One of the best ways to fight criminal threat charges is to show no actual threat was made. Without real threatening language, there’s no case.

A skilled lawyer will closely analyze what was actually said. If your words were vague, hypothetical, exaggerated, or taken out of context, that helps undermine the prosecution’s argument.

Defense strategies here may include:

  • Language analysis – Your attorney can consult speech experts to analyze if your words constituted an actual threat. This can demonstrate misunderstanding rather than criminal intent.
  • Witness testimony – Eyewitnesses can be called to describe the real context and tone behind your statements. This eyewitness evidence weakens the prosecution’s interpretation.

You Had No Real Intent to Threaten

Prosecutors must also prove you had intent to threaten someone or intimidate their actions. Under NY law, vague ranting or joking hyperbole doesn’t qualify.

Your lawyer can argue you never meant your words to be taken seriously or actually acted upon. Possible evidence includes:

  • Statements to others showing no real follow-through planned
  • Evidence of your nonviolent reputation
  • Proof of amicable history between you and the alleged victim

Showing a lack of actual intent or capacity to carry out threats pokes major holes in the prosecution’s version of events.

Unlawful Police Conduct

Many criminal threat cases rest heavily on what you said during a police encounter. But cops don’t always properly identify themselves or make arrests by the book.

Your attorney can dig into the legality of how your statements to police were obtained, including:

  • Failure to read you Miranda rights
  • Coercion or intimidation tactics used during questioning
  • Violation of your right to attorney representation

Exposing this unlawful police conduct can get damaging statements ruled inadmissible. And without those threatening remarks on record, the prosecution’s case disintegrates.

Finding the Right NY Criminal Defense Lawyer

As you can see, an experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze the flaws in a threat charge case and build an aggressive defense strategy. Connecting with a seasoned NY defense lawyer should be your next step after an arrest or investigation.

Defense lawyer John Smith has successfully defended criminal threat cases statewide and offers an initial free case evaluation. You can also check experienced local attorneys on Avvo and Lawyers.com.

The sooner you engage an attorney, the faster they can start protecting your rights in this complex legal situation. Don’t go through this fight alone – make the call today to discuss your best defense options with an expert NY defense lawyer.

I hope this overview gives you a good starting point for understanding criminal threat charges and possible defenses in New York. Remember, skilled criminal defense lawyers fight cases like these every day. So try to take a deep breath and know that experienced legal help is out there. You’ve got this!


Videos Explaining NY Criminal Threat Laws

Articles on Fighting Threat Charges

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