Terroristic Threats: The Catch-All Felony for having a Big Mouth

A person can be charged with making a terroristic threat if they use words to instill fear in others. Examples of terroristic threats include statements like: “I wish I could burn this place down.” “I am going to blow this place up.” “I am going to beat every one of you up!” Now, it is very possible that you have said at least one of those statements at some point in your life. How many times have you been aggravated at work and verbalized how you would like to burn the place down? It isn’t like you were serious, but someone may have taken you seriously and it led to a terroristic charge. Then there are those who get into fights and they may yell threats at the other person while cussing them out. Everything that is said is typically said out of anger. Statements like, “I’ll kill you” can be taken seriously. In one case, a young man was drunk and beating on a window of a friend who locked him outside. The drunk man was yelling obscenities while beating on the window, so the friend called the police. This resulted in the drunk man being arrested and charged with terroristic threats. Over time, the terroristic threat charge has become a catch-all felony for when a person simply has a big mouth. They may not have had a previous criminal offense on their record at all, but saying things that others perceive as being a true threat can result in the charge. Now, a person who says that they have planted a bomb in a building has made a true terroristic threat. This creates panic of the masses and can cause entire buildings to evacuate. In the meantime, every person is concerned with getting out as soon as possible because they are fearful that the building will blow up while they are inside. This is causing people to fear for their lives. However, a simple fight does not always result in individuals fearing for their lives, but it is prosecuted just as aggressively as if someone made a bomb threat. One trend that has happened lately is perceived threats over social media or individuals simply having a “big mouth,” thinking that they will not get into any trouble for saying what they want over sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A number of teenagers have found themselves suspended from school and criminal charges filed against them. One student made a tweet about “drilling my teammates hard.” The young man played football and anyone who knows anything about football knows that “drilling” in contact sports means a hard tackle. However, this was perceived as a threat and it landed the young man in trouble. Those that did not interpret what he was saying correctly took it as a terroristic threat, thus landing him in trouble. This is a case where the young man did not have a big mouth, but the public perception or interpretation of the statement resulted in… Read more {+}

The intersection of Child Protection Cases and Criminal Law

While family law and criminal law are typically separate, there are times when the two intersect. When they intersect, the cases can become rather complex and that means that attorneys are required, but one of those areas of the case may be outside of the focus area. This is why attorneys with focuses in both area will work together to create one linear focus. Nonetheless, the times that criminal law may intersect with family law is when there is a domestic issue, such as child protection. Perhaps the child needs protected due to an alleged domestic violence situation. Because domestic violence is a family matter and a criminal matter, the two areas of the law become twisted together, requiring a different approach from an attorney. When a client tells an attorney that they have been accused with domestic violence resulting in a child protection matter, it is important to find out if the client has been formally charged with a crime. It is possible for clients to not know the status of the charges, but a Minneapolis attorney can search records at the courthouse to find out if there are any charges that have been filed. If an attorney does know, then it is important to be ready to take a stand at any hearings regarding the child protection matter and the criminal charge. The reason why it is important to have family law and criminal law attorneys work closely together is because the criminal charge can have an impact on the family matter. If a client is found guilty of a domestic violence matter resulting in a child protection issue, it will affect custody, visitation, could result in the disproportionate division of assets and spousal and child support. Even being convicted of a simple assault charge without any family violence finding can result in negative consequences. If child protective services or the police have been called, the attorney will most likely subpoena the medical records, DHS records, and police reports so they can be studied. These materials can be helpful as can any 911 records, which can be requested within 30 days of the call. It is important to subpoena or request 911 recordings before they are destroyed. Whether or not any formal child endangerment, child abuse, or domestic violence charges have been filed, it is important to consider the depth of the allegations, their effects on any family legal matters, and the possible criminal consequences. When these allegations are made, an investigation will be done to determine their validity. The child may be interviewed, as well as anyone around the child. The attorney can request a copy of the report and be prepared for the attempt by the prosecution to use the report as evidence in the case. The forensic interviewer who interviewed the child may also be asked to testify. Failure to have the child protection matter and the criminal aspects of the case properly can have severe consequences. Much caution is used when proceeding in these… Read more {+}

Juvenile Felony Criminal Sexual Conduct: The Long-Term Consequences

Many individuals do not believe that a juvenile who engages in felony criminal sexual conduct and is convicted of it will face long-term consequences. They think that the matter will disappear when the child turns 18, but that is not the case. Juvenile sex crimes can result in the minor being charged as an adult and this means serving an adult prison sentence. If your child has been charged with felony criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, it is imperative to secure the services of an experiencedSt. Paul criminal defense attorney experienced in such matters. An attorney protects the rights of your child and works hard to avoid the potential consequences of the charge. It is not guaranteed that your child’s case will be handled in juvenile court. It is expected, but the judge may rule that the child can stand trial as an adult. According to the Department of Justice: Juveniles account for more than 35.6 percent of those who commit sex offenses against other children. Children who commit sex offenses are more likely than adult offenders to offend at school and in groups and they tend to have more male victims and their victims are younger. The age in which youth sex offenders start to come to the attention of police is around the age of 12 and it plateaus around the age of 14. Offenses are primarily against younger children, but offenses against other teenagers can occur in later adolescence. Female sex offenders make up 7 percent of juvenile offenders. Female offenders are more frequently found among younger youth than older youth. They are more likely to have male victims and typically within their family. These figures are very rough in that jurisdictions vary a lot in how they concentrate on reports of juvenile sex offenders. However, this is research that has gone back 50 years, but the surge in interest did not occur until the 1980s due to the surge in juveniles being entered into sex offender treatment programs. While most juvenile sex offenders are teens, there is a small percentage that is under the age of 12. This group has been the focus of educators, clinicians, and public safety offices because they tend to not be declared delinquent like older offenders. These young people are considered to have sexual behavior issues. Not all of these cases come to the attention of the police because they are usually handled in other ways. But when criminal charges are brought, it is important that the child is defended. The reason is because not all children who offend become adult offenders, so their future depends on whether or not they are tried as a child and determining if the charge does have merit. False accusations do happen among the juvenile population as well. There is also the fact that young children abusing other children may be an indication that the child offender is being abused by someone older than them or they had been abused in the past. That is… Read more {+}

Domestic Assault: Why Victims Don’t Control Charges

The Victim Has No Control Alex De Marco, Domestic Assault Defense Attorney Domestic assault is probably the second most common crime in Minnesota that carries with it actual consequences, next to DWI.  That is because, just like DWI, a person can be arrested for DWI at the scene on virtually no real evidence whatsoever.  It is not an exaggeration to say if your significant other or family member says you struck them, or even placed them in fear of being injured, that is absolutely all it takes to be arrested.  There are numerous organizations and “battered women shelters” which receive a combination of public and private money, and they have combined with various activist organizations to “crack down” on domestic assault.  This has resulted in unintended consequences. One of those consequences is that, even if the alleged victim does not want to “press charges”, even if she changes her story or admits she lied, the charges do not get dismissed on that statement.  Too often our law firm is told “she doesn’t want to press charges so this is an easy win.”  Not as easy as you think.  The phrase “press charges” is largely the result of television shows, and a different time in law when people actually had some control over what their police force did in their name.  It is very true that some victims of domestic abuse do not not report every incident of assault, and face a great deal of psychological pain and distortion if they are in such a relationship.  It is fashionable to talk about this as “battered women syndrome” or some similar description.  The politics of domestic assault have brought this disorder to light with the best of intentions.  For centuries women lived in shadows of submission and abuse with no redress for their pain, and no just punishment for their abuser.    Contrary to what is often reported, however, such a “syndrome” is an abrogation from the norm, and is not widespread or common to every or even most victims of domestic abuse.  Domestic abuse often causes divorces or separation in a short period of time, and after all it is the natural instinct of any person assaulted to fight back and/or contact authorities after the event.  However, the focus on this unique phenomenon, syndromes and disorders that cause victims to languish in silence for years and years, has led to a an erroneous assumption that every person who calls the police and tells one story, and then changes it, is lying because they are terrified of their abuser, or suffer from some “syndrome.”  This presumption has resulted in a process that prevents the central function of investigation and prosecution:  to seek the truth. We like to think that once an accusation has been made, someone who has lied or misunderstood a perceived incident can come forth and tell THE TRUTH, and spare the accused the very real consequences of criminal prosecution.  Unfortunately, the tactics of many prosecuting authorities, officers, and even… Read more {+}

The Line between Felony Assault and Attempted Murder

Two people get into a gun fight and suddenly one is severely injured and the other is charged with attempted murder. In another case, two individuals get into a bar fight and one is severely injured and the other is charged with felony assault. So why was one charged with attempted murder and the other with felony assault? First of all, the District Attorney decides on what the charge will be. The details of the altercation are looked at and the following constitutes felony assault: Great bodily injury was inflicted on the other person on purpose. Bodily injury was inflicted on the other person with a deadly weapon other than a firearm. Bodily injury was inflicted on a police officer or a correctional facility employee While attempted murder also involves deadly force with a deadly weapon, the type of weapon is looked at. If a person uses a gun, then they can be charged with attempted murder. In this case, the gun is the only difference between the two charges. However, attempted murder in Minnesota can include any of the following: Stalking or tracking down a person in hopes for an opportunity to commit murder Luring a victim to come to a specific place where it is possible for the victim to be murdered Breaking in to the home or property where the victim is thought to be in order to commit murder Collecting materials needed to commit the murder, such as obtaining the parts to create a bomb and attempting to put them together Convincing someone else to commit the murder, such as having them plant a bomb In this case, the difference between assault and attempted murder lies in the fact that there is planning, but the plan is not followed through with. The attempt to murder is made, whereas in assault there may be no premeditation. But the absence of premeditation does not mean that a person cannot be charged with attempted murder, especially when an act of assault in the heat of the moment leads to a person trying to kill the other person. This proves how the line between felony assault and attempted murder can be thin or it can be rather thick. It also shows how a person can be charged with attempted murder when murder was not the intention and that is why it is imperative for a person to contact their a St. Paul & Minneapolis criminal defense attorney who can draw that line between the two in order to obtain the best results in the case. While a felony assault conviction can severely affect you for the rest of your life, an attempted murder conviction can lead to longer prison sentences and even more difficulty moving forward toward the future. A competent attorney can seek a reduction in a felony assault or attempted murder charge so that the penalties are reduced, thus giving you a better chance at moving beyond the charge sooner. The Line between Felony Assault and Attempted Murder… Read more {+}