Utter Threats Lawyer Toronto

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Everyone gets angry or frustrated once in a while and may end up saying things out of anger. For example, if you’re fighting with your neighbour over some trees that are shedding leaves into your yard and you threaten to beat them up or burn down their property, you may end up in some serious trouble with the law if they file a complaint with the police. Most people are shocked when the police show up to arrest them for uttering threats as they’re not even aware that it’s a criminal offence. Well, here’s the kicker, uttering threats has severe consequences upon the finding of guilt, including a jail term, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Let’s take a look at what uttering threat offences entail, possible consequences, and potential defences. All the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. If you require legal advice or representation, contact Zamani Law for a free consultation and review of your case.

What Is Considered Uttering Threats?

Offences that are construed as uttering threats are many as the definition provided by the Criminal Code of Canada is vague and open to interpretation. It’s good to note that uttering threats is considered a form of assault, which adds to the seriousness of facing such a charge. To understand what uttering threat charges entail, let’s take a look at Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code: Everyone commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys, or causes any person to receive a threat
  1. to cause death or bodily harm to any person;
  2. to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
  3. to kill, poison, or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.
The two most common uttering threat charges are threats to cause bodily harm and death threats, and they carry the most serious penalties. Note that for you to face uttering threat charges, the threats don’t have to be spoken. Physical actions, such as a throat-slashing gesture, are considered threats, and one can face criminal charges. Also, sending someone a threatening message through phone messaging apps, social networking sites, and even through mails can still result in uttering threat criminal charges. A threat can also be directed to a particular group of people and not a specific individual. This is still a criminal offence, and you’ll face criminal charges. The most essential part of uttering threat charges is that you intended the recipient to receive the threat and take it seriously. As long as the alleged victim took your threat seriously, your ability or intention to carry it out becomes irrelevant to the case. Therefore, if you half-jokingly threaten to beat someone to a pulp, you can be charged with a criminal offence even if you have no intention or ability to do so. An uttering threat charge can be a standalone charge or connected to other criminal charges such as domestic violence. Whichever the case, retaining a criminal defence lawyer is vital. They’ll protect your rights, guide you through the process, and develop a defence strategy to attain the best possible results. Contact Zamani Law at (647) 697-6954 for exceptional legal advice.

Potential Consequences of Being Convicted of Uttering Threats

For the Crown prosecution to successfully convict you of an uttering threats charge, they must prove that:
  • you knowingly uttered threats to the alleged victim (face to face, through messages or someone else)
  • you intended for the victim to receive the threats
  • you intended the threats to create reasonable fear in the alleged victim
Uttering threats is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown decides whether to prosecute the offence as an indictable one or through summary conviction. The way they choose to proceed greatly determines the repercussions you may face if convicted. Some of the consequences of being found guilty of uttering threats include incarceration, fines, and a life-long criminal record. A criminal record damages your career prospects, makes it hard to travel to countries such as the USA, and negatively impacts other aspects of your life. Let an experienced uttering threats lawyer in Toronto protect your rights and fight for the most favourable outcome as per the charges against you. Call Zamani Law for a free consultation.

What Is the Sentence for Uttering Threats?

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, the sentence imposed upon the finding of guilt depends on the type of threat. Threat to cause bodily harm or death:
  • up to 5 years in prison for an indictable offence
  • up to 18 months in jail or a $5,000 fine, or both for a crime punishable through summary conviction
Threat to destroy or damage property, or to kill or injure an animal:
  • up to 2 years in prison for an indictable offence
  • up to $5,000 in fines for an offence punishable through summary conviction
With such lengthy jail sentences and other consequences upon conviction, it’s imperative to have an experienced lawyer by your side when charged with uttering threats. A lawyer will help you understand all the possible outcomes in your case. He’ll negotiate with the Crown and build a strong defence to fight the charges against you. Contact Zamani Law today to retain a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer. With us, your interests and needs come first.

Can The Crown Withdraw Uttering Threats Charges?

An uttering threat criminal charge is relatively hard to prove. Therefore, unless the prosecution has a reasonable chance of convicting you, they might consider withdrawing the charges against you. In most scenarios, the accused must participate and complete certain diversion programs, such as anger management classes, for the Crown to withdraw the charges. It’s good to note that once an uttering threats charge is laid against you, the police and the complainant have no power to withdraw the allegation. Even if the alleged victim withdraws the complaint, the Crown can still proceed with the prosecution. They can also subpoena the complainant to testify against you in Court. Only the Crown Attorneys have the power to get an uttering threats criminal charge withdrawn.

Possible Defence Strategies

Most threats are made in-person during arguments between spouses, neighbours, workmates, etc. This means that the evidence in such cases is the statement made by the complainant. In such scenarios, the case becomes a “he said/ she said” situation, making it challenging for the prosecution to prove their case and for the judge to reach a verdict. Therefore, you should never plead guilty as your lawyer can fight to have the charges withdrawn or reduced, or the consequences alleviated. Even in scenarios where the alleged threat was received through text, email, or mail, there are potential defence strategies that ensure the best possible results. To fight uttering threats charges, an experienced lawyer can focus on the context of the threat. In this defence strategy, the defence lawyer shows that a reasonable person, who was fully aware of the context in which the alleged threat was made, would not consider the words, gestures, or message to amount to a threat to cause bodily harm or death, destroy property, or injure an animal. If your lawyer successfully shows that a reasonable person couldn’t construe the said words or gestures as a threat, your case would fall apart, leading to an acquittal or a finding of not guilty. The above is just one of the many defence strategies available for uttering threats charges. As such, if you are facing an uttering threat charge, enlist the services of a criminal defence lawyer to review the allegation against you and devise a way to defend you. Zamani Law has years of experience defending persons charged with uttering threat offences in Ontario. We have the expertise and resources to fight the allegations against you and help you reach a favourable outcome. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.

Contact Expert Uttering Threats Lawyers in Toronto

If you have been charged or are under investigation for threatening to cause bodily harm or death, destroy property, or injure an animal, call Zamani Law at (647)697-6954 or contact us through our free consultation form. Our team will fight for you throughout the entire process, from bail hearing to trial.

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