Uttering Threats Offence in Calgary
You may be charged with uttering threats if you 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, you need not make these threats directly to the person targeted. If you tell person A that you want to kill person B, you can still be found guilty. Even if the person to whom the threat is made does not take the threat seriously, or does not believe you will follow through with it, you can still be found guilty.
Bail Conditions for Uttering Threats
In virtually all cases involving allegations of threats, the police or the courts will impose conditions forbidding you from contacting, or even going anywhere near, the alleged victims.
We know that in cases where the alleged victim is a family member, spouse, or girlfriend, these conditions can cause a great amount of personal, financial, and emotional stress. This is a situation involving a Domestic Violence context, and we can help. We can negotiate with the Crown to show that you are not a danger to the alleged victim and that their case will not be compromised if you are permitted to have contact. If need be, we will appeal the decision which forbids you from having contact with the people you care about to the Court of Queen’s Bench.
It is critical that you obey the no contact conditions, and all the other terms of your release until we arrange for your conditions to be changed. Breaching any term of your release may result in you incurring new criminal charges for which it can be difficult to get released from custody. In addition, you may compromise any chance for a good resolution for your charges.
The following circumstances do not justify breaching the no-contact conditions of your release:
- The alleged victim is the one who initiates the contact
- The victim consents to the contact
- The victim does not want you charged for breaching
- The contact is innocent, pleasant, or for the victim’s benefit
Defending Uttering Threats Charge
Most often threats are made orally from one person to another. Our clients often say to us, “there is no evidence that the threat was made”. The reality is that the statement of the person who heard the threat, which is usually the complainant in the case is evidence. This type of situation really does come down to a “he said/she said” scenario wherein the judge will have to decide if he believes you, and if he doesn’t believe you, does he believe the complainant.
Beyond that, it is very common that threats are made though voicemail messages, text messages, mail, email, or other electronic means, in which case there is a better record of exactly what was said. Even in this type of situation, however, our criminal defence lawyers can still mount a successful defence by challenging the Crown Prosecutor’s ability to prove that you wrote those texts, or those emails, etc.
Uttering threats is punishable by maximum sentence of five years imprisonment. In addition, the Court can put a number of restrictions on you after your sentence is completed, including:
- Up to three years of probation
- An order that you surrender a sample of your DNA to the police
- An order that you cannot own any weapons for the rest of your life
If the threats involved a threat of using firearms, it is likely that the police have seized – or may be coming back to seize – your firearms and will not want to return them.
One of the things we try to do for our clients is not only resolve their criminal charges, but also get their property, like firearms, returned to them. On the other hand, we have in many cases successfully negotiated the surrender of the firearms (or agreed to a voluntary firearms ban) in exchange for a resolution to the charges without a criminal record.