“I’m gonna kill you!”
“The next time I see you, you’re dead.”
“I’m gonna leave you in a body bag.”
What do all of these statements have in common? Other than sounding like words exchanged during a heated argument, they’re all threats. While the individuals making these threats may have no intention of following through, law enforcement has no problem stepping in, especially when the threats are made in writing.
In this digital age where individuals can broadcast their thoughts to millions with the click of a button, there’s a heightened responsibility to “watch what you post.” Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are ideal digital spaces to freely express one’s thoughts and opinions, but when those thoughts threaten the well-being of another, you can quickly find yourself in serious legal trouble.
The Orlando written threat defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are experienced criminal defense attorneys who’ve handled numerous types of threat cases. We understand that everything you express — whether it be via social media or something that is hand-written — is not meant to be taken at face value. However, the state will take precautionary measures to protect the safety of others. Allow us to protect your freedom and your natural rights by constructing an impermeable defense to the charges you face.
Legal Definition of Written Threats in Florida
Florida Statute § 836.10 defines the crime of written threats as:
“Any person who writes or composes and also sends or procures the sending of any letter, inscribed communication, or electronic communication, whether such letter or communication be signed or anonymous, to any person, containing a threat to kill or to do bodily injury to the person to whom such letter or communication is sent, or
a threat to kill or do bodily injury to any member of the family of the person to whom such letter or communication is sent [is guilty of the crime]”
This includes anything from mailing a letter to someone’s home to a simple social media status update. As long as the following factors are in place, an individual can justifiably be convicted of making written threats:
- The individual wrote or composed a threat to kill or inflict bodily injury;
- The individual sent or procured the sending of that communication to another person;
- The threat was to the recipient of the communication or his or her family.
Successfully proving these three factors in a written threats case subjects the accused to a criminal conviction and grave criminal penalties.
Florida Penalties for Written Threats
Written threats is a serious criminal offense in Florida, classified as a second-degree felony. Keep in mind that this charge only applies to making threats of violence to another person and not the actual commission of a violent act. A second-degree felony in Florida provides the following penalties:
- Up to 15 years in prison; or
- Up to 15 years probation; and
- Up to $10,000 in fines
The judge has the discretion of combining a prison and probation term to make up one’s sentence and can also tack on additional penalties. In domestic dispute cases, a conviction for written threats can also affect visitation rights and child custody.
Experienced Written Threats Defense Attorneys
Defending against written threat charges requires the legal counsel of a seasoned attorney. The Orlando written threat defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm possess more than 100 years of combined experience and extensive knowledge of how to dismantle written threat charges. Some of the most effective defenses to the charge include:
- Unintentional communication
- False accusations
- The threat does not include bodily injury or killing
- The communication was never actually “sent”
- Protected speech under the First Amendment
- The communication is a non-threatening figure of speech
Our team of Board Certified and/or aggressive Criminal Trial Lawyers can analyze the facts of your case, implement the most applicable defense, and protect your best interests throughout the legal process. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.