Were you accused of threatening to commit a crime in Louisville, KY? Kentucky law enforcement officials take criminal threats seriously. You could face felony charges that carry time in prison, financial penalties, and a lasting criminal record. A Louisville criminal threat lawyer at Suhre & Associates, LLC can fight to protect your legal rights.
Our legal team is led by former prosecutors and police officers who know the criminal laws in Kentucky. We’ve fought to help countless clients get their criminal charges reduced or dismissed over the years.
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How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help if You Were Arrested for Criminal Threats in Louisville
Criminal threats are a serious issue. When you threaten to commit a crime that could cause serious injury, death, or serious property damage, you can be arrested — even if you don’t carry out the crime.
Whether you’re under investigation or already facing charges, you need the help of an experienced Louisville criminal defense lawyer.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we have over 100 years of combined experience defending clients in Kentucky. We’ve won countless not-guilty verdicts over the years. Our lawyers have the tools to negotiate with prosecutors to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely if possible.
When you hire our team to handle your criminal case, your lawyer will:
- Conduct an independent investigation into the allegations
- Identify any weakness in the prosecution’s evidence
- Provide sound legal advice throughout the criminal process
- Help you understand the consequences of accepting any plea bargain
- Build the strongest defense possible
- Advocate zealously for you in criminal court if necessary
Don’t wait until it’s too late to get the legal representation you deserve. Call an experienced Louisville criminal defense attorney for a free case review today.
Overview of the Criminal Threat Laws in Kentucky
Making threats can be a criminal offense in the state of Kentucky. That’s true even if you never act on those threats. Prosecutors don’t have to prove that you committed an act of violence to convict for criminal threats.
Criminal threats, or “terroristic threatening,” is a speech-based crime. You can be convicted whether the threats are made verbally, via a text message, or on social media. All types of communication are covered under the law–oral and written.
Under Kentucky law, criminal threats charges are divided into three categories, depending on severity.
Regardless of the charge, it’s important to take a criminal accusation seriously. If you or a loved one were charged or are under investigation, call Suhre & Associates, LLC to schedule a free case review with a Louisville criminal threat attorney today.
Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree
The most serious first-degree terroristic threats involve threats against schools and government agencies.
Specifically, it’s a crime to make false statements alleging that you or another person placed a weapon of mass destruction in any of the following locations:
- Any public or private elementary or secondary school, vocational school, or postsecondary institution, including both the building and surrounding property
- A school bus or other vehicle owned, operated, or leased by a school
- Any public or private building where an official school-sanctioned function is taking place, including the surrounding property
- The real property or any building that’s owned or leased by a government agency
You can also be charged with terroristic threatening in the first degree if you place a counterfeit weapon in any of these locations.
Terroristic threatening in the first degree is a Class C felony. Prosecutors must prove that you acted intentionally to convict you.
Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree
The criminal offense of second-degree terroristic threats is similar to the first-degree offense. The offense covers situations not included in the first-degree crime.
You can be convicted if the prosecution can prove that the threat was:
- Made intentionally
- Would reasonably cause another person to believe that the act would result in death or serious physical injuries
- Made in a situation involving a scheduled, publicly advertised event open to the public, any place of worship, or any school function
Second-degree criminal threats charges also apply in situations where the defendant threatens to commit an act likely to cause another person to be killed or suffer a serious injury.
Prosecutors can charge a person with terroristic threats in the second degree if the defendant intended to:
- Cause the evacuation of a school building, school property, or school-sanctioned event
- Cause cancellation of school classes or school-related activities
- Create a fear of death or serious injury for students, parents, or school personnel
Terroristic threatening in the second degree is usually a Class D felony. The charges can be elevated to Class C felony charges if prosecutors can prove that you later engaged in some type of activity to carry out the threat.
For example, more serious felony charges may apply if you later obtain weapons that could be used to commit the crime.
Terroristic Threatening in the Third Degree
Kentucky prosecutors can also charge you with a crime for making threats that don’t involve schools, government agencies, or public events. Often, these cases involve allegations of domestic violence. In addition to serious criminal charges, these charges can also create problems in family court and circuit court.
Kentucky criminal laws define third-degree criminal threats to include situations where a defendant:
- Threatened to commit any crime likely to result in death or serious physical injury to another person
- Threatened to commit a crime that would likely result in substantial property damage
- Intentionally made false statements to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or a public transportation facility
Terroristic Threatening in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor. However, even a misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences.
Our lawyers in Louisville can help regardless of the charges you’re facing. Just give us a quick call for a free case evaluation to learn more.
What are the Penalties for a Criminal Threat Conviction in Louisville, Kentucky?
Potential penalties for making criminal threats depend on the severity of the charge. Felony-level charges almost always carry a potential prison sentence.
According to the Kentucky sentencing guidelines, you could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Class C Felony. A Class C felony conviction is punishable by between five and ten years in prison.
- Class D Felony. Conviction on Class D felony charges is punishable by between one and five years in prison.
If you’re convicted of a felony, you’ll probably also be penalized with a financial fine. A felony conviction can carry monetary penalties that range from $1,000 to $10,000.
Third-degree terroristic threats charges are a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a penalty of up to $500.
If you’re convicted of any crime in Kentucky, you’ll also have a criminal record. That can make it difficult to find employment or suitable housing. You might also face collateral consequences, including immigration problems or loss of your right to own a firearm.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Criminal Threats in Kentucky?
Criminal allegations don’t always result in a conviction. Many effective legal defenses may be available in your case. In fact, the criminal threat statute specifically says that it isn’t a crime to report a threat made by another person.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our criminal threats defense lawyers know how to build the strong defense you deserve.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your defense strategy may include:
- The threat was vague, so that a reasonable person wouldn’t have felt an immediate threat
- You didn’t intend to threaten to kill or hurt anyone
- Your communication should have reasonably been interpreted as a joke
- The threat was never conveyed to another person
- State prosecutors lacked evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt
- Your statements were protected free speech
- Constitutional violations, including illegal searches and seizures
- False allegations
- Actual innocence or mistaken identity
Cases involving criminal threats are complex. You shouldn’t try to handle your case alone. Kentucky state police and prosecutors might try to manipulate your statements to their advantage. Prosecutors may be able to use your statements against you.
Instead, call our experienced Louisville attorneys for help building the strongest defense possible.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Louisville Criminal Threat Lawyer
Were you or a loved one charged with making threatening statements in Louisville? Don’t make the mistake of taking the charges lightly. Contact a Louisville criminal threat lawyer at Suhre & Associates, LLC today. Your initial consultation is free, so don’t wait to get the legal advice you deserve.