Tyler Nehl pled guilty this past Monday to terroristic threats and aggravated assault in Georgia. According to reports, Nehl threatened to cut someone's head off with a machete. The District Attorney's Office of Newton County reported that he pled guilty before facing a jury trial.
Nehl was sentenced to two years of prison time to be followed by eight years of probation.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I understand that the law behind terroristic threats can be very confusing. In today's post I will explain the statute and the Georgia Criminal Defenses that apply if wrongfully accused.
Terroristic Threats in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines terroristic threats in Georgia as:
When a person threatens to commit any crime of violence, to release any hazardous substance, or to burn or damage any property with the purpose of terrorizing another or of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation or otherwise causing serious public inconvenience or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. O.C.G.A. §16-11-37.
The criminal offense of terroristic threats can be classified and charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The dividing line between the felony and misdemeanor charge is if the threat suggests the death of the victim.
If a misdemeanor terroristic threats charge, then the consequences are up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 fines, or both.
If a felony terroristic threats charge, then the consequences are between one to five years in prison, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
The penalties will be heightened if the threat is made with the intent to retaliate or threaten any person attending a judicial or administrative proceeding, law enforcement officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, prosecuting attorney or judge relating to the commission of an offense.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that not everyone who is accused of a crime in Georgia is guilty of committing that crime. Unfortunately, wrongful accusations and arrests happen more often than we would like to admit.
Regarding a wrongful accusation and arrest for terroristic threats, there are certain defenses that will completely negate the charge. These defenses include:
- Reasonable Person Standard: If a reasonable person would not have been terrorized by the words and evidence surrounding the incident supported this, that could be a defense.
- Uncorroborated Victim Testimony: A person cannot be convicted of terroristic threats if the only person that can verify the testimony was the victim.
These defenses are by no means extensive, and there are others that may apply based on the circumstances of the particular case. This is why if you or a loved one has been accused of committing a criminal offense in Georgia, contact our offices today.