How Does the First Amendment Apply to Threats of Violence?

How Does the First Amendment Apply to Threats of Violence?One of America’s most sacred rights in the Constitution is the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech. Many Floridians assume that making a threat against someone is protected under this amendment unless they follow through with the threat; however, that’s not the way the law works. There are several statutes in the State of Florida that prohibit making threats toward others.

If you have been charged with making criminal threats, it’s in your best interest to speak to an aggressive criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.

Florida Law Regarding Written Criminal Threats

Florida law states that it is illegal to make a written threat to kill someone, cause bodily injury to someone, conduct a mass shooting, or commit an act of terrorism. If you write down a threat toward another person and then make sure they receive that written communication, whether by paper or electronically, you could face criminal threat charges in Florida.

This also applies to situations where you might make a public post on your social media that alludes to an act intended to cause harm to and/or instill fear in another person or organization. Examples of this would be saying you are fed up with your job and want to shoot your boss.

It’s important to note that the law does not state that intent is required for this crime. This means the state does not need to prove that you intended to follow through with the threat to convict you of making written threats. Simply proving that you put the threat in writing and sent it or made it viewable to others is enough to convict you of this crime.

Don’t Make a Verbal Threat You Can’t Take Back

Verbal threats are typically charged under Florida Statute 784.011. Since it is unlawful to intentionally threaten another by words or acts, you could potentially go to jail because you shook a fist at someone and said you would punch them.

Would this still be possible if the person you threatened could not be harmed because, for example, they were behind a locked door? Probably not, as the door protects them from your imminent violence and danger.

How Serious Is the Crime of Making Criminal Threats?

Making written threats is seen as a serious crime in Florida, which is why it is a second-degree felony. If convicted of this crime, you could potentially face up to 15 years in state prison or on probation, as well as pay upwards of $10,000 in fines.

Are There Other Laws That Govern Criminal Threat Offenses in Florida?

The law prohibiting written threats deals solely with threats that are in writing, but making verbal threats is also a crime. Cases where one is guilty of stalking may also include criminal threat charges, for example, if you were harassing an ex-partner and threatening to cause them harm or intentionally causing them emotional distress in this way.

If you are facing charges of making criminal threats, please take this situation very seriously and hire a highly trained criminal defense attorney right away.

Speak with an Experienced Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away

You should never face a criminal charge without the assistance of a skillful Orlando criminal defense attorney who has the needed criminal justice system experience to defend you. This requires an extensive understanding of constitutional law and how it applies to the circumstance of your specific case.

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience and can help position you for a favorable court ruling. As former Florida prosecutors at the state and local level, we have extensive knowledge regarding criminal threat charges in the Florida and federal criminal justice systems.

Don’t jeopardize your defense by waiting until you have to go to court. Work with our legal team to start building your defense now so you can get the second chance you deserve. To arrange your free consultation with one of our attorneys, call (407) 228-3838 or contact us online 24/7.