Minnesota classifies certain threats of violence as terroristic in nature. A person can be accused of making terroristic threats if he or she threatens the public, communicates with the intention to cause panic, threatens others with weapons, or triggers false alarms. All four charges attract imprisonment and hefty fines if the culprit is convicted.
Types of Terrorist Threats
Minnesota recognizes three acts as terroristic threats:
Threatening violence with intent to terrorize: someone threatens to directly or indirectly terrorize other people by committing violent crimes that would require the evacuation of a facility or building. Such threats have the potential to cause serious public disruptions and anxiety.
Penalties: persons found guilty of serious terrorist threats can be sentenced to up to five years in prison or fined up to $10,000 or both.
Communicating with the intention to terrorize: someone communicates with another person telling them that there are explosives or explosive devices at a particular place or location with the intention of causing terror. The act of making the threat violates the law even if there are no actual explosives at the location.
Penalties: persons found guilty of communicating terrorist threats can get up to three years in prison or be required to pay up to $3,000 in fines or both.
Displaying replica of firearms: a person who displays or depicts replica firearms or BB guns in a manner that threatens others can be charged with posing terroristic threats. Such a person can be convicted of terrorism if the act:
- is an attempt to cause terror in others
- terrifies others
- is a blatant disregard of the risk posed to others
Penalties: persons found guilty of this crime can get up to 12 months in prison and be ordered to pay fines of up to $3,000 or both.
A person who intentionally raises false alarms of fire, triggers false alarms when there is no risk of fire, or interferes with the alarm system can be charged with a misdemeanor. If a person tampers with a fire alarm and creates a situation where someone else is harmed, he or she can be charged with a felony. Such a person can get up to five years in prison or be fined up to $10,000.
Terrorist charges carry heavy penalties, but a criminal defense lawyer can help a defendant get the best possible outcome. The criminal defense lawyer will advise the defendant on his or her rights and handle complex court processes.