What is a Terroristic Threat in Arizona?

Governor Ducey signed a bill that created Arizona’s law against terrorism in April of 2012. The bill outlines the laws for making a terrorist threat, false reporting of terrorism, and the liability for expenses incurred from the violation. The definition used to describe a terroristic threat is not included in A.R.S. § 13-2308.02, so how the courts define these acts are not fully known. The legal definition for a terroristic threat is defined as any threat to commit a crime of violence with the intention of terrorizing others, create a reason for a building to be evacuated, or to cause the public panic with reckless regard of the risks associated.

Punishment for Violation

The violation of A.R.S. § 13-2308.02 is a class 3 felony for a first-time offender if convicted. The courts have the authority to sentence a minimum of two and a half years of prison time up to a maximum of seven years for this felony type. If the circumstances are aggravated, the judge may end up increasing the sentence. The law for juveniles is just as hefty as those for adults.

Examples of Terroristic Threats

Being accused of making a terroristic threat can be a lot simpler than you realize. Courts also rarely allow for defense lawyers to build their defense around the fact that the defendant didn’t mean what they were saying, and they had no intention of carrying out the threat.

Threats to commit violence that cause an evacuation

  • These evacuations can be caused by items like bomb threats called into schools or office buildings to cause panic and emergency evacuation. Juveniles often fall into this category.

Threats that cause serious public inconvenience

  • Terroristic threats that cause the police to shut down something like a highway to avoid an act of terrorism from being carried out. The shutdown displaces and inconveniences potentially thousands of people, especially in busy Arizona cities.

Threats of property damage

  • People don’t have to believe they are in imminent danger for a threat to be considered terroristic. Threats to burn property or cause damage in a way that is threatening can be deemed a terroristic act even if no one is home at the time.

Threats do not have to be acted upon to be considered terroristic. Simply stating intentions of doing something terroristic, an utterance other the breath that gets reported, or writing it down can be forms of incrimination under the statute.

Criminal Defense for Terroristic Threats

Arizona criminal defense lawyers are skilled at handling cases of terroristic threats. Due to the severity of the charges under this law, it is possible that avoiding charges entirely may be difficult, but not impossible. Most Arizona courts will not allow for defense lawyers to use the argument that their client didn’t mean to cause the terror they caused. Juveniles may be able to avoid jail time by paying restitution for their actions. If you or someone you know has been accused of terroristic threats or actions, they need to seek counsel from an Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for representation.