In Pennsylvania, violent crimes occur when threats are made that considered terroristic. Vilent crimes such as this are known as terroristic threats. According to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another; cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; self-defense or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. Communication in this statute is not limited to just verbal or written, it also includes terroristic threats made by body language. An example of this would be if you waived a gun at your neighbor every time you saw them. You can still be charged with terroristic threats, even if you do not have the means or ability to act out on the threat.
Terroristic threats are taken very seriously and if you are found guilty you could possibly face harsh penalties. Terroristic threats is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If you are found guilty, you could face up to five years imprisonment and/or fines up to $10,000. Terroristic threats is a felony of the third degree if the threat causes the occupants of the building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation to be diverted from their normal or customary operations. If you are found guilty, you could face up to 7 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $15,000. In addition, you may have to pay restitution in an amount equal to the cost of the evacuation, including, but not limited to, fire and police response; emergency assault crimes medical service or emergency preparedness response; and transportation of an individual from the building, place of assembly or facility. Not only may you face criminal charges, but you may also be sued in civil court by someone harmed by your terroristic threat. If you are facing terroristic threats charges, it is best to contact a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney will best be able to establish the facts of your case and allow you to receive the best possible outcome.