Many people are shocked when they are charged with uttering threats by the police, but in Canada, uttering threats is a criminal offense that can result in a criminal record and even a maximum five-year jail sentence.
What is the definition of a threat?
The definition of uttering threats is found in the Criminal Code section 264.1. Anyone can be charged with uttering threats if they threaten to:
- Kill or seriously injure any person
- Destroy, damage, or burn someone’s property
- Kill, hurt, or poison an animal that belongs to another person.
To be found guilty, the threat does not even have to be directed directly at the person being threatened. You can still be found guilty even if you say to person A that you want to harm person B. You can still be found guilty even if the person who was threatened does not take the threat seriously or does not believe that you will follow through with it. You can still be charged with uttering threats even if the intended victim is not aware of the threat.
Bail conditions for uttering threats
In the majority of cases involving allegations of threats, the court will impose conditions prohibiting you from contacting or going near the alleged victim.
A no-contact order can be especially stressful in cases where the threat was made against a family member, spouse, or partner. MD Criminal Lawyers can negotiate with The Crown to show that you are not a danger to the alleged victim and that the case will not be compromised if you are permitted contact.
Defending an uttering threats charge
Often, threats are made orally from one person to another. It comes down to a “he said/she said” scenario where the judge must decide which party he believes.
Other common methods are voicemail, text messages, mail, email, etc., which provide a better record of what is said. Our criminal defense lawyers can still mount a successful defense by challenging the Crown Prosecutor’s ability to prove that you wrote those texts, emails, etc.
According to the criminal code, “everyone who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(a) is guilty of
- (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
- (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
Everyone convicted of an uttering threats charge will have their information shared with the police and entered into a database. Since this database is accessible to United States customs authorities, it can cause problems with crossing the border into the United States.
Have a Criminal Lawyer in your corner
If you are accused of uttering threats, you must hire a skilled criminal defence lawyer to fight for you. Do not underestimate the potential consequences of a charge for uttering threats. Contact us at 1-825-535-5765 or visit our website. We are forceful advocates, ensuring that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defense possible.