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Massachusetts Bar Association

Massachusetts G.L. c. 275 § 2: Threat to Commit a Crime

Threatening to commit a crime against the person or property of another is in itself a crime. Massachusetts General Laws chapter 275 section 2 governs the offense of threats to commit a crime.

In order to be convicted of the crime of threats, the Commonwealth must prove several things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The Defendant, expressed an intent to injure the person or property of another, now or in the future;
  2. The Defendant intended that his threat be conveyed to a particular person;
  3. The injury threatened, if carried out, would constitute a crime; and
  4. The threat was made under circumstances which could reasonably have caused the person to whom it was conveyed to fear that the defendant had both the intention and ability to carry it out.

The Commonwealth need not prove that the threat was communicated directly to the intended victim, only that the defendant intended that the threat be conveyed to the victim either directly or indirectly. Further, the Commonwealth need not prove that the threat was ever successfully communicated to the intended victim.

The statute does not allow for warrantless arrests for this offense. This crime may be charged by way of a complaint, and if upon examination it is found that there is cause to believe that such threat may be committed the court shall issue a warrant and direct officers to apprehend the defendant and bring him before the court.

Penalties

The potential punishment for threat to commit a crime as provided by G.L. c. 275 section 4 is a maximum fine of $100, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more then 6 months. In lieu of a sentence of imprisonment the court may order the defendant to enter into a recognizance to keep the peace with sufficient sureties and conditions.

Defenses

As with any criminal charge the types of defenses available may depend on the nature and circumstances surrounding the offense. For charges of threats to commit a crime there may be First Amendment considerations and protections. For instance, this charge only applies to cases of “true threats” that do not qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment.

Contact an experienced criminal law attorney to explore potential defenses and receive the best possible disposition for even minor criminal offenses.

Massachusetts Criminal Law Attorney 617-263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with threats to commit a crime, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Neyman is a fierce advocate who will fight to protect your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Because he understands that facing any criminal charge, no matter how minor, can cause anxiety and distress, he readily makes himself available to answer questions and address concerns. Call Attorney Neyman’s office at 617-263-6800 or send him an e-mail today. You can reach his office at any time of day or night, so do not hesitate.

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