The Criminal Law on Threats to Kill in Chicago

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199The recent arrest in January 2018 of a man in Racine County, Chicago has created a big stir. The police apprehended him for threatening to kill the people who were on board a bus. The Wisconsin State Patrol and Sheriff’s department assisted in nabbing the man. Threats to kill can occur in different forms. In June of 2017, a 45-year-old man was charged with a hate crime when he threatened to kill a Muslim-American Civil Rights Lawyer via telephone.

Death threats are frequently made anonymously. Either a single individual or an entire group can threaten to kill a person or a group. Such threats aim at intimidating the victims. The accused in such cases try to manipulate the behavior of the victim. They use the threat as coercion.

Threats may occur via newspaper, letters, phone, email, or social media, just to name a few. Threats to kill such as the above mentioned cases are often considered a Class I felony charge. Such cases may also come under disorderly conduct and misdemeanor. The offense may carry a sentence of 18 months and an extended supervision of two years. Or, the person will have to pay a fine of $10,000. This is all dependent on the severity and circumstances of the case.

The victims in such instances find their lives disturbed due to the threats. The threats make the victim feel fearful and shake their confidence in the legal system. The language used in the threats further make them more distasteful and hurtful. In the threat against Sohel, the Civil Rights Attorney, he has said that the threat was anti-Muslim in nature and anti-immigrant. He felt unwelcome in the country.

Blurring the Line Between Illegal and Free Speech

In some instances, veiled threats occur and the person involved portrays it as free speech. The Elonis v. United States, case is one such instance. Elonis threatened to kill his wife via a post on Facebook. When the case was filed, Elonis claimed he did it in jest, but his wife and the federal jury thought otherwise. He received a conviction for violating federal law. The court considered his actions a crime of threatening another individual.

Meanwhile, free speech supporters think that such comments are misinterpreted easily. The comments are impulsive and hasty. For instance, a message meant for a specific group can be mistaken by a larger audience. Some experts in civil rights consider such threats as punishable. The legal system has rejected this stand. It maintains that true threat is based on how the message is perceived by an individual objectively.

Legal Assistance  

When accused of a misdemeanor or felony in Chicago, you can be prosecuted. You may be found guilty or have your charges dismissed based on the court trial. Using a reliable criminal defense lawyer will help you in such instances. Without the right legal help, the process can be stressful and confusing. Conviction can result in a prison sentence that will have further consequences and effects on a person’s life. Thus, it is best to get the proper legal help. The lengthy processes including community service and hefty fines can be quite damaging.

This is why you need a knowledgeable and trusted lawyer. You will be able to fight for your civil rights. Choose an attorney with experience in representing such cases so that you can get the necessary help you need.

David Freidberg Attorney at Law provides dedicated and expert service and representation. You can be ensured of your rights being protected on all accounts. For expert advice on the legalities, you can approach David Freidberg Attorney at Law. Contact David L. Freidberg at 312-560-7100.

(image courtesy of Hajran Pambudi)