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Threats of Violence: Minnesota Lawyer Explains

Apr 7, 2023 | General Blogs

Under Minnesota Statute 609.713 are provisions on threats of violence that punish three subdivisions of threats. This blog explains Minnesota’s statutes involving threats of violence, discussing the three subdivisions, the transit threats defense, and reasons a lawyer is needed in threats of violence charges.

Three Types of Threats of Violence

There are three different types of threats of violence that are made criminal under Minnesota law: intent to terrorize, communications to terrorize, and display of a replica firearm.

Intent to Terrorize

The first and most common form of threatened violence is the intent to terrorize. This is when a person directly or indirectly threatens someone to commit a crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize them to cause the evacuation of a building or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror. Anyone who commits the intent to terrorize is guilty of a felony and can be punished with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

For example, a person threatens to kill another in the middle of a verbal argument with the intent to scare them, the situation can be classified as a threat of violence and the person making the threat can be charged with a felony.

Communications to Terrorize

The second subdivision of threats of violence is communications to terrorize. This happens when someone communicates that they have explosives or other types of incendiary devices with a purpose to terrorize another in reckless disregard of the risks of causing such terror.

For example, someone who says they have planted a bomb somewhere for the purpose of terrorizing another is guilty of this type of threat of violence. Even a fake bomb threat is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.

Display of a Replica Firearm

The final type of threat of violence is the display of a replica firearm or BB gun. When a person displays, exhibits, brandishes, or otherwise uses a replica firearm in a threatening manner, they can be charged and sentenced to a maximum of a year and a day in prison or a $3,000 fine.

Transient Threats Defense

One of the most common and strongest defenses against threats of violence is what’s called the transient threats defense. This can be used to show that the person making the threat had no real intention to threaten the person or commit the threatening act.

For example, someone who passively says “I’m going to kill you if you do that again” after getting surprised or caught off guard is not guilty of threats of violence.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Threats of Violence Charges

Threats of violence charges, even if there was no physical criminal act, are serious matters. A person who gets convicted of this felony can have trouble finding a job or get in trouble with child protective services. The conviction will stay on their record forever.

But a charge does not guarantee a conviction. As long as the accused has a good lawyer, they will be able to put up a solid defense, avoid a life-changing conviction, reduce the penalty, and wipe the charge from their records.