Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
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.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Dealing with a criminal threat charge in New York can be really overwhelming and scary. I totally get it – trying to figure out your defense options is confusing. But there are good defenses that can help get the charges reduced or even dismissed. I wanted to give a quick rundown on some options, in case it’s useful.
One of the main criminal threat defenses is arguing that your statement wasn’t actually a true threat under the law. For a threat to be considered valid under New York law, it has to meet these criteria:
If your statement was vague, made in jest, or wasn’t realistic, your lawyer can argue it didn’t constitute a true criminal threat. Like if you said “I’m so mad I could just strangle him” to a friend about your boss, that’s not likely an actual threat.
Another common defense is diminished capacity due to mental illness. To use this defense, your attorney would need to demonstrate you have a mental defect or disease that prevented you from understanding your actions or forming intent.
This defense can either get the charges dismissed fully or reduced to a lesser offense. It requires providing medical records and testimony from psychologists showing your state of mind.
It’s also possible the threat allegation against you is simply false or a misunderstanding. If there’s no solid proof you made a threat, just someone’s word against yours, your attorney can argue mistaken identity or false accusations.
If there is a recording of your statement, your lawyer may argue it has been taken out of context and you didn’t have ill intent. It’s crucial to work quickly to gather counter evidence showing your innocence.
If none of the above defenses seem viable for getting the charges dismissed fully, your attorney may advise taking a plea bargain instead of going to trial. This involves pleading guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for avoiding the original criminal threat charge.
For example, pleading to disorderly conduct instead of making terroristic threats. This can help avoid jail time and a permanent criminal record. An experienced criminal lawyer can negotiate the best deal.
And if you do take your case go to trial, there are other defenses your lawyer might present as well, such as:
The key is having an aggressive defense attorney willing to challenge the prosecution’s interpretation of events. Threat charges often rely heavily on subjective standards.
I hope this gives a helpful starting point for understanding defenses in New York criminal threat cases. Remember there are options and support out there during this stressful time. All situations are different, so consult with a local attorney to discuss the best defense for your specific circumstances. Wishing you the very best in getting the charges reduced or dismissed. You got this!
Overview of criminal threat laws in NY: https://www.nycourts.gov/judges/cji/2-General/CJI2d.Threats.pdf
Examples of false accusation cases: https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/false-accusations-what-can-you-do
Plea bargaining basics: https://www.lawinfo.com/resources/criminal-defense/plea-bargains/
First Amendment and other trial defenses: https://www.findlaw.com/state/new-york-law/new-york-terroristic-threat-laws.html
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