Communicating Threats charges in North Carolina are relatively common, particularly in the context of a dispute that may also involve allegations of simple assault, assault and battery, or a domestic violence matter in Cumberland County NC.
If you’ve been accused of Communicating Threats in Fayetteville or Hoke County, we think it’s a good idea to Lawyer Up. Exercise your constitutional right to legal counsel and Take the Fifth.
What Does Communicating Threats Mean?
"It also makes sense to stop talking. In the heat of passion, sometimes people say things they don’t really mean."
- David Courie, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Communicating threats under North Carolina General Statute 14-277.1 occurs when a person:
- without lawful authority willfully threatens to physically injury another person or that person's child, sibling, spouse, or dependent or willfully threatens to damage another's property; and,
- communicates that threat to the other person
- in a manner that would make a reasonable person believe it is likely to be carried out; and,
- the threat is believed by the threatened person.
Communicating threats is a class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum punishment under the law of 120 days incarceration and a discretionary fine not limited by statute.Can I Go to Jail for Communicating Threats Charges?
As a class one misdemeanor in North Carolina a District Court judge, or a Superior Court judge following a jury trial, may impose an active period of incarceration.
Incarceration may include a jail sentence or time in prison depending on the nature of the charges, your Prior Record Level (if any), and the circumstances of the allegations of communicating threats.
For example, communicating threats charges in North Carolina often accompany other assault-related charges which may be felony or misdemeanor allegations, again depending on the fact pattern.
It is not unusual for criminal defense lawyers to encounter multiple different charges that may include things like felony assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon intent to kill inflicting serious injury, assault on a female, interference with emergency communications, injury to personal property, and injury to real property.
If you are found guilty or plead guilty, sentencing for misdemeanor charges in North Carolina is broken into different classes of offenses, which while similar to felony charges, operates under a separate sentencing grid.
Unlike felony sentencing in North Carolina, there are three prior record levels possible. Under felony sentencing, there are six prior record levels possible. (PRL I through PRL VI)
Misdemeanors in North Carolina are broken down into class A1, Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.
Communicating threats is the second highest level offense for a misdemeanor charge and is designated a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The sentencing judge is authorized to sentence, depending on the allegations and your prior record level or “PRL,” within the community punishment range, intermediate sentence, or to an active time in jail or prison period.
Sentencing in North Carolina consistent with the NC Criminal Laws and “Punishment Grid” is notoriously complicated. Speak with legal counsel immediately about the individual, unique aspects of your case.
If found to be a PRL – Prior Record Level 1, the Court is limited to a 1 day to 45 day “community punishment.” Prior Record Levels 2 and PRL 3 offenders allow the Court additional options for a more severe punishment.
Community punishment ordinarily involves probation and possibly things like mental health and substance abuse assessments and treatment.
An intermediate sentence may involve probation and some level of special term of probation that can include time in jail or what defense lawyers may refer to as a split sentence.
And finally, an active term of imprisonment is authorized when the judge deems it appropriate. Ordinarily, for misdemeanor charges not associated with a related felony, that term would be served in the local jail.Should I Talk to the Police?
We think it is better to speak with defense counsel prior to making any statement or cooperating with an investigation.
Sometimes people, in an effort to limit their exposure to possible criminal charges or to “talk your way out of something,” do not provide correct information to the police.
Furnishing fictitious information to law enforcement officers is in itself a separate criminal charge. If you do not tell the truth to police officers, or hinder their investigation, you can make a bad situation worse, thus resulting in an additional charge of resist obstruct in North Carolina.
As such, it is a better practice to speak with legal counsel first before saying anything. Saying nothing is better than saying something that is incorrect or that could possibly serve to convict you.
Remaining silent is not an admission of responsibility. You also have a right to legal counsel. In fact, it’s a Constitutional Right, just like the Right to Remain Silent.
Exercising a Constitutional Right cannot be used against you. If that were the case, it really wouldn't be much of a right to start with.
Our Fayetteville / Cumberland County, Hoke County and Moore County criminal defense lawyers provide free legal consultations for criminal charges. That means we do not charge a fee if you wish to call the firm, ask some basic questions, and figure out if we may be able to help you.
Call now to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.