A written or electronic threat can be sent through text messages, emails, social media, or other types of contact. These may include harassment, intimidation, extortion, or a combination of all three to cause fear or harm to the recipient. When you face accusations of sending a written or electronic threat to somebody, you must take the charges seriously.

The charges alone could harm your reputation and negatively impact your life. Luckily, our skilled criminal defense Attorneys can craft a defense strategy to help you with the case. Connect with a Plantation written and electronic threats Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert today.

What is a Written and Electronic Threat?

State law defines a written or electronic threat as any type of communication made through written or electronic means that forms a threat to harm someone or commit a criminal offense. Threats can be made through emails, text messages, social media posts, letters, and voicemails.

To be considered a threat, the written or electronic message must have the intent to intimidate, harass, or cause fear in another. Specific statutes outlining the offense are Florida Statute § 836.10 and 836.05. Florida Statute § 836.10 dictates that it is a crime to send a written threat to kill or harm another person or to threaten to commit a mass shooting or terrorist act. Florida Statute § 836.05 outlines threats and intimidation. The statute prohibits acts of violence and threats with the intent to intimidate or harass another individual. When you are unsure of whether your written or electronic message constitutes a threat, consult an Attorney in Plantation.

Defenses Against Written and Electronic Threat Charges

There are many defenses to written and electronic threat allegations, but each varies with the circumstances.

Lack of Intent

If the communication was not intended as a threat, there may be a lack of intent. There are instances of misunderstanding or misinterpretation and may argue that there was no intent to threaten the other person.

Freedom of Speech

Many Lawyers in Plantation use the First Amendment of freedom of speech as a defense in written and electronic threat cases. This defense can be used in circumstances for protected speech, even though it may be seen as offensive. However, the First Amendment protection has limitations, such as when the speech was used to threaten or to incite violence. In circumstances where the communication is artistic, political, or expressive, the defense may argue that it is protected expression under the First Amendment.

No Credible Threat

If the communication was distasteful, someone could still argue that there was no credible threat posed. The defense may argue that the communication did not have a legitimate, credible threat to harm another or to commit a criminal offense.

Mistaken Identity, Lack of Fear, or Mental Incapacity

Other defenses include mistaken identity, lack of fear, or mental incapacity. In instances when the identity of the sender is questioned, the defense may argue that the defendant was wrongly accused. For the lack of fear defense, the victim may have consented to the communication or did not fear the writing. Lastly, if a defendant was suffering from a mental illness or impairment at the time of writing the letter, there may be a defense of lack of mental capacity.

Penalties for Written and Electronic Threats

Penalties for written and electronic threats are different depending on the facts of the case, such as the severity of the threat. If an individual writes with a threat to kill, do bodily harm, or conduct a mass shooting or terrorist act, the offense is a second-degree felony. The maximum penalty includes imprisonment for up to fifteen years and fines of up to $10,000.

Threats and intimidation are first-degree misdemeanors, and the punishment is imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. Apart from prison time and fines, individuals convicted of written or electronic threats may also face community service, probation, mandatory counseling, and restraining orders. A Plantation Attorney will work to get your penalties for a written or electronic threat mitigated or dropped altogether.

Schedule a Consultation with an Attorney Today

Our Plantation written and electronic threats lawyers at Leifert & Leifert can evaluate your case and determine the best defense strategy for you. The effectiveness of the defenses used will depend on the specific facts of your case and the evidence presented. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

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