The Criminal Code of Canada defines the criminal offence of “Uttering Threats” in Section 264. This criminal offence is committed whenever a person conveys, utters, or causes a threat to be made against another person in any manner. It is important to note the threat must be made knowingly by the person, who uttered it, and with intent.
In addition, the threat was made with the intention to inflict bodily harm or death of another, or to harm, poison, injure or kill another person’s bird or animal (pets) in their care, or with the intention to burn, destroy or damage another’s real personal property.
The penalties for being convicted and found guilty of “Uttering Threats” depends upon the nature of the threat, as well as whether the person is prosecuted as an indictable offence or as a summary conviction. The consequences for being found guilty or taking a plea agreement for an “Uttering Threats” offence, could include, but may not be limited to: travel restrictions, fines, fees, varying periods of imprisonment, and communication and contact restrictions with the victim.
When people are charged with this criminal offence, they often do not understand why they were charged. What they fail to understand is there are different ways in which threats could be made against another, their pets, or their property. While the most obvious way to threaten another is verbally and directly in their presence, there are several other ways to make threats, like:
- During a Telephone Conversation
- Through a Text Message
- Posting the Threat to a Social Media Page
- Making the Threat through Twitter
- Through an Email
- Through a Letter
Essentially, if the person you threatened believes you have the intention and capability to carry the threat out, and feel their livelihood is at risk, they can file charges against you through the police.
In addition, you do not have to make the threat directly against the other person. In some cases, you could potentially be charged for Uttering Threats you made against another in the presence of other individuals. For instance, you might make the threat during a conversation with a friend, co-worker, neighbour, or relative. As long as they believe you intend to carry out the threat against the other person, they could contact the police and notify them of your intentions. The police could potentially arrest you and charge you with “Uttering Threats.”
Although, it is worth mentioning, not all threats are considered criminal offences. If you and some friends are fooling around, and during the course of the horseplay, someone makes a threat, but there is no actual intention on their part to carry it out, and the other person does not believe they will follow through, then there has been no criminal offence committed.
The above information should only be used for informational purposes and not be considered actual legal advice. If a loved one or yourself has been charged with “Uttering Threats,” it is in your best interests to contact an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer to learn what your legal rights are, what options you have, and get your questions answered. Contact Abergel, Goldstein & Partners LLP today by calling 613-235-9779 to schedule a complimentary consultation appointment to discuss your legal matters in more detail.