The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett
Phone: 704-899-5574

Knowing when words become threats

Nearly everyone in Charlotte is susceptible to saying something they do not mean in the heat of the moment. This understanding is often expected, which is why many come to us here at The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett surprised when their words result in criminal charges. You might utter something while stressed or under some form of duress that is directed at another yet have absolutely no intention of him or her feeling threatened by it. Unfortunately, it is his or her feelings that are often judging when determining if your actions were indeed criminal. 

Section 14-277 of North Carolina's General Statutes shows that words and statements may indeed be unlawful under the following circumstances: 

  • When you threaten to physically injure another person or that person's spouse, child, dependent or sibling, or threaten to damage that person's property
  • That threat is communicated either orally, in writing or via some other means
  • The threat is done in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe it will be carried out
  • The intended target of the threat does actually fear that it will be carried out

Typically, the charge that results from a threat will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if your supposed threat is believed to have any sort of terroristic element, that charge you might face could be bumped up to a felony. 

The issue with charging you with making a threat is actually proving that you intended to follow through with it. Your actions immediately following it could go a long way in making this determination, as can your conduct towards whomever your words were addressed to. You can learn more about dealing with potential misdemeanor or felony cases by continuing to explore our site. 

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The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett
130 North McDowell Street Suite C
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-899-5574
Fax: 704-334-2095
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