Threatening & Intimidation Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona
Who doesn’t remember the scene in The Godfather in which fictional Hollywood producer Jack Waltz found the head of his favorite horse in his bed? It was a graphic depiction of intimidation that remains indelibly imprinted in the minds of nearly everyone who saw the film. Although threatening and intimidation are typically associated with organized crime, loan sharking, and gangs, they are used in various other situations as well, including influencing members of a jury and frightening domestic violence victims into remaining silent about their abuse, or in retaliation for reporting a crime to authorities. We recognize what you are going through and how difficult it must be to live the way you did before. We are here and we can help.
Being arrested and charged with threatening or intimidating someone is a serious offense that can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges based on the unique circumstances of each case. If you find yourself facing these types of charges, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice from a reliable Phoenix criminal defense attorney who can advocate for your best interest.
Why Do I Need a Threatening and Intimidation Lawyer in Phoenix?
Threatening and intimidating charges are taken seriously in Arizona’s criminal justice system. If you’ve been charged, you are risking jail time and a criminal record, in addition to the loss of your good reputation and more, especially if the accusation is related to a domestic violence charge. This is a risk no one wants to take.
Avoid a public defender, even if you qualify for one financially. Since they are overworked, they can’t give your case the attention it deserves. Get a competent Arizona criminal defense lawyer you can find for the best outcome and least disturbance of your life and freedom.
At Snader Law Group, we have extensive experience successfully handling criminal threats and intimidation cases in Phoenix AZ, and its surrounding areas. We know how important it is to fight these charges and we ensure that our clients are given the best possible chance of success. We will help you explore your legal options and obtain the most favorable outcome for your case.
What Is Considered a Threatening or Intimidating Crime?
In Arizona, the crime of threatening or intimidating occurs when an individual makes a threat of violence against another person or threatens to damage property. With this criminal charge, there doesn’t need to be physical contact with the alleged victim or property. The victim needs only to report a genuine threat. If you’ve been charged with making criminal threats, contact a credible Phoenix threatening and intimidation attorney as soon as possible to know more about your legal options.
The Arizona Criminal Code makes it illegal to threaten or intimidate another either verbally or physically, to cause significant damage to another person’s property, to cause a public inconvenience (for example causing an evacuation of a building with a bomb threat), or to cause physical injury to someone for reasons related to a street gang or organized crime syndicate. Depending on the severity of the crime, threatening and intimidation may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Threatening and Intimidating in the Context of a Domestic Violence Situation
Many times, an accusation of threatening and intimidating will arise in the context related to domestic violence offense. But in a significant number of these cases, there is no actual evidence independent of the accused and the accuser, making it a “he said, she said” situation. Nevertheless, the prosecutor may charge you based only on the alleged victim’s unsubstantiated claims.
These cases are treated differently and the consequences can be even more severe. In Arizona law, a domestic violence charge often involves the following types of domestic relationships:
- spouses or exes
- dating couples
- couples with kids or pregnant women
- parents, kids, siblings, and grandchildren
Furthermore, in domestic violence cases, the victim will sometimes have second thoughts about the accusation, especially if it was made in the heat of emotional exchange in anger, which later dissipates, and then recants the accusation. But prosecutors will often persist, even in the light of a recanted accusation by the domestic partner who admits to filing a false report in anger.
What are the Legal Penalties for Threatening and Intimidation in Phoenix?
Although it may not sound as serious as other violent crimes, cases of threats and intimidation are not viewed lightly in the judicial system. These types of charges are taken very seriously and often lead to severe punishment including mandatory prison, fines, and probation.
If you are ultimately convicted of intimidation or making criminal threats, the penalties vary depending on the specific charges you are convicted of. It may range from misdemeanors to felonies. Because of the severe consequences, these cases must be handled by a skilled Phoenix threatening and intimidating lawyer.
In Arizona law, threatening or intending to intimidate another person is a serious crime, which depending on the nature and severity of the act is charged anywhere from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. Injuring a person or damaging their property as a means of intimidation can be a class 1 misdemeanor; but if it is done in retaliation for their reporting criminal conduct, it can be charged as a class 6 felony. If the act of threat and intimidation is caused by a member of a criminal street gang who is doing it to promote a gang or crime organization, it can be charged as a class 3 felony.
What are the Defenses Against Threatening and Intimidation Charges in Phoenix?
Just because you have been charged with threatening and intimidating does not mean that you are guilty. Our knowledgeable Phoenix threatening and intimidation lawyer will diligently work with you to find the best defense strategy to prevent a conviction and avoid harsh penalties. There are many potential defenses to this criminal charge, such as:
In Arizona, you may threaten physical force if it appears reasonably and immediately necessary to protect yourself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force. However, the self-defense statute does not protect against threats of force used in response to verbal provocation alone.
Not a “true threat”
While the prosecution doesn’t need to demonstrate the defendant acted with wrongful intent, could carry out the threat, or intended to carry out the threat, the prosecution still must show the defendant communicated a “true threat.” Courts find that a threat is only an illegal “true threat” when a reasonable listener would consider it a true expression of intent to harm under the circumstances.
The Threat Was Not Criminal
There’s a difference between rude or offensive behavior and criminal conduct. In Arizona, it is illegal to make actual threats and be involved in a fight or criminal violence. On the other hand, offensive or rude behavior is not considered unlawful.
A comment that is only rude or offensive does not fall under the threatening and intimidation statute. Suppose the basis for filing criminal charges was due to the defendant being offensive, vulgar, or active in a disrespectful manner. In that case, there will be no charges because these kinds of behavior aren’t criminalized in Arizona.
Although this isn’t technically a defense, victims sometimes recant their claims. There are certain times when people act as a result of anger and react to threats and intimidation by filing charges. After they cool down and the dust settles, they realize that they blew it out of proportion, fabricated a charge, and made the report out of vengeance. If the victims change their minds about pressing charges, the case is dropped.
There are many cases of innocent people being arrested, primarily due to domestic abuse or any domestic violence offense. If the victim is biased, he or she might exaggerate or fabricate the threat. These cases are common in families where one decides to sue the other for threatening a crime due to anger from issues like divorce, cheating, child custody, or vengeance. If you can prove that the charges you are facing are due to one of these things, then the claim becomes distorted, and it is dismissed.
First Amendment Rights
The United States Supreme Court has ruled on a long line of cases that examine when a threat is not illegal but is protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Although this is a complicated area of the law, it can be helpful in threatening and intimidation cases.
Even though there is a right to free speech, words that might cause a violent reaction from reasonable people, also called fighting words, are prohibited. If the speech does not convey a genuine threat or contain fighting words, then it will usually be protected under the Constitution.
Call Our Experienced Phoenix Threatening and Intimidation Lawyer Now!
Being charged with intimidation or threat-related crime should not be taken lightly. Aside from fines or jail time, having something like this on your permanent record can be detrimental to your future; both in terms of family and employment. If you are charged with threatening or intimidating a person, it is crucial to seek legal advice from our seasoned Phoenix threatening and intimidation attorney from Snader Law Group. Our criminal defense law firm uses a wide range of defense strategies to prevent a criminal conviction and the penalties that follow. We will leave no stone unturned as we investigate and build your defense.
When your life and freedom are at risk, get the help you need by calling the law offices of Howard A. Snader, LLC, located in both Phoenix and Scottsdale. As a former prosecutor and Arizona Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, Howard knows the way the system works from the inside out and puts that knowledge to work for the benefit of each of his clients. He understands that threatening and intimidating charges may be either subjective or completely false, and will examine questionable motivation on the part of your accuser.
If you’ve been questioned or arrested by the police or law enforcement officer, call our Phoenix threatening and intimidation attorney immediately. Say nothing until they are at your side to protect your rights. Your initial consultation is without charge, and easy payment plans are available. Schedule your consultation today!