Uttering Threats Defence Lawyer2024-05-24T18:45:20+00:00

Uttering Threats

While not all threats are created equal, uttering certain threats in Canada can lead to criminal charges, conviction and sentencing, followed by a criminal record. When facing criminal charges, swift action is crucial and hiring an experienced uttering threats lawyer in Toronto is the best defence against the allegations.

Uttering threats is treated as a serious offence. A guilty verdict can result in incarceration. A lawyer can help you avoid this sentence and even escape a criminal conviction.

What Are Uttering Threats?

Section 264.1(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to knowingly utter or convey a threat about causing any person bodily harm or death, threatening to destroy or damage their property, or threatening to kill, poison, or injure their pets and animals. To be charged with the offence, you do not need to directly utter the threats, you can also be charged if you indirectly utter threats, for example, by getting another person to convey your threatening message.

It is also important to note that you need to make the threat with the intention of it being taken seriously. Additionally, as long as you make a threat with the intention that it should be taken seriously, your actual ability or intention to carry out the threat is irrelevant.

Uttering Threats Charges

After someone calls 911 because they received a threat, the Toronto police are obliged to proceed with the case. Even if the complainant changes their mind and decides to withdraw their statements, the police and the Crown may choose to continue with the case depending on the individual circumstances.

For the charges to result in conviction, the prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • the offender knowingly and intentionally uttered or conveyed a threat,
  • the offender intended to cause fear and intimidation,
  • a reasonable person would perceive the message as a threat of death, bodily harm, or damage to property or a pet.

The threat can be delivered by any means beyond words, including messages, emails and even gestures. A threat can be direct or conditional when someone threatens to inflict harm or death if another person does not follow their orders.

When deciding whether to proceed with the charges, the prosecution will carefully examine all circumstances and context of the threat and evaluate the prospects of conviction at trial. If the Crown decides to continue with the charges, they may choose to proceed either summarily or by indictment with different consequences in case of conviction.

Experienced Toronto defence lawyers can fight your uttering threats charges. Call 647-977-5852 or reach out online for a free review.

Sentence for Uttering Threats in Ontario

Whether or not someone was able or intended to implement their threats, the punishment can be quite severe, followed by a criminal record with far-reaching consequences.

While criminal threatening carries no mandatory minimum penalties, the convicted offender can face:

  •  suspended sentence,
  • conditional sentence,
  • fine,
  • prison time with or without a fine.

The answer to the question of what is the punishment for criminal threatening also depends on whether the threats are made against an individual, their property, and/or pets. Naturally, threatening death or bodily injury to someone carries heavier sentencing than threats to destroy property or to harm or kill a pet.

If the Crown decides to proceed with the charges by indictment, the maximum sentence is 5 years in jail for threats against an individual and 2-year prison time for threats against property or a pet. If the Crown proceeds summarily, the maximum sentence is two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000, irrespective of the target of the threats.

Defence Strategy for Uttering Threats Charges in Toronto and the GTA

While all criminal cases are fact-specific, there are common defence strategies that your uttering threats lawyer can adapt to your circumstances to help you beat the charges.

Some of these defences include:

  • factual innocence defence, where the lawyer raises reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case,
  • questioning the credibility of the complainant and whether the threat was actually made,
  • claiming no intention for the threat to be taken seriously.

These are just a few of the various defence strategies which can be used to have uttering threat charges dropped, dismissed or significantly reduced. Retaining an experienced legal professional early in the process would increase the chances of successful application of these defences throughout all stages of the criminal process.

Arrest and Bail

If the police arrest you, you have the Charter rights to remain silent and retain a lawyer. It is always the best strategy to exercise these rights and contact a lawyer first before answering any questions or making any statements to the police.

After arrest, the police can release you or detain you in custody until the bail hearing. If you are detained, the police must bring you before the judge within 24 hours of your arrest or as soon as possible.

You have a constitutional right to a reasonable bail and cannot be denied bail without “just cause.” Your lawyer will speak to the Crown about what is required to secure your release and propose a bail plan. In many cases, a bail plan involves a “surety” or an individual who pledges to pay a certain amount of money if you fail to follow your release conditions.

If the Crown has concerns about the bail plan because they believe that you are at flight risk or pose a threat to the public, the prosecution must “show cause” and prove to the judge why you should be detained or imposed stricter bail conditions. Involving a defence lawyer is instrumental for challenging the prosecution’s arguments and increasing your chances for release on bail with less restrictive conditions.

Awaiting trial

When you await the trial, your legal counsel can work on developing an individual defence plan adapted to your circumstances. As the first step, your lawyer will ask the Crown for a full disclosure of all evidence. Having a lawyer by your side comes with the advantage of obtaining all information the Crown has against you, whether or not they plan to use it in court and account for it in your defence strategy.

If you retain a lawyer, they will participate in pre-trial appearances, including Crown pre-trial (CPT) and Judicial pre-trial (JPT), negotiating with the prosecution and the judge on your behalf. If the Crown decides to proceed with the charges by indictment, your lawyer will further advise you on making a strategic choice of the mode of trial, including the provincial court, Superior Court by judge alone or by jury.

Potential consequences if found guilty of uttering threats

The potential consequences of a conviction depend on the target of the threats and how the Crown proceeds with the charges. If the threats are directed toward an individual and involve causing death or serious bodily injury, the maximum sentence is five years imprisonment by indictment.

If the threats are made towards property or a pet, the maximum sentence is two years by indictment. If the Crown chooses to proceed summarily, the maximum criminal penalty is imprisonment for two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine. In addition, everyone convicted for uttering threats faces a criminal record with far-reaching consequences for employment, housing and social opportunities.

Why Is It Vital to Contact Uttering Threats Defence Lawyers for Charges Dropped?

In Canada, words intended to intimidate and to be taken seriously are followed by severe repercussions. Hiring a criminal defence lawyer for uttering threats can be pivotal for mitigating the consequences of allegations and obtaining the best possible outcome, such as having charges dropped or dismissed.

An experienced lawyer can be instrumental in many ways, which include:

  • navigating the Canadian criminal laws and justice system,
  • facilitating your release on bail with the most favourable conditions,
  • obtaining full disclosure of evidence against you,
  • negotiating with the prosecution and the court on your behalf,
  • assessing the evidence and choosing the most effective defence strategy, adapting it to your needs,
  • raising a reasonable doubt and challenging the prosecution case during trial,
  • obtaining the most lenient outcome possible under the circumstances.

Since no two criminal cases are the same, previous results do not guarantee future outcomes. If you face uttering threats charges in Ontario, please contact Vilkhov Law defence lawyers at your earliest opportunity for a free consultation.

Uttering threats lawyer Igor Vilkhov
Uttering threats defence lawyer Joel Prajs
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How can a criminal lawyer help you with uttering threats charges?2024-05-23T20:16:33+00:00

Retaining a criminal lawyer for uttering threats defence early in the process can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome. An experienced lawyer from Vilkhov Law can assess the specific language and the context of alleged threats, evaluate the evidence the prosecution has against you, cross-examine the credibility of the complainant and apply effective defence strategies to minimize the charges.

Can the Crown withdraw uttering threats charges?2024-05-23T20:15:49+00:00

The Crown has full discretion on whether to proceed with threats charges, depending on whether they have sufficient evidence to continue the prosecution. Meanwhile, the police will lay the charges even if the complainant changes their mind and decides to withdraw.

An experienced criminal defence lawyer from Vilkhov Law can advise you further on your options and offer a strong defence strategy.

Is threatening someone a crime in Canada?2024-05-23T20:15:04+00:00

While not all threats are crimes, the Criminal Code of Canada sets harsh penalties for threatening death, bodily injury, damage to property or killing or harming their pet. Meanwhile, words, which were not intended to be taken seriously or were spoken “in jest” are not considered threats.

Due to a considerable leeway that applies in interpreting specific language and context of threats, you may need to contact an uttering threats lawyer for a free initial consultation to assess your case.

How serious are uttering threats charges in Ontario?2024-05-23T20:13:50+00:00

The severity of the charges for criminal threatening depends on multiple factors, including whether the threats involve inflicting death or bodily harm or are directed towards property or a pet, the presence of a previous criminal record and other circumstances.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced uttering threats defence lawyer in Toronto who will be able to assess the potential consequences in your individual case.

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