Uttering threats is when you communicate a threat to a person in any way to:
- Cause harm or kill that person
- Damage that person’s property
- Kill or injure an animal that the person owns.
Uttering simply means to communicate a threat. It does not necessarily have to be spoken. It can be done by email, text message or social media. Gesturing in a threatening way can also be seen by a court as uttering threats. The courts have ruled that threatening psychological harm or injury can result in a person being charged with the offence of threatening.
As mentioned above, threatening to do damage or cause mischief can result in a threatening charge under section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada. In order for someone to be convicted of uttering threats, the prosecutor must prove that the threat was intended to be taken seriously. As a result, jokes and things said playfully should not result in a charge and conviction for this offence.
If a person is convicted of this offence, the court can and often does make an order preventing the convicted person from owning weapons for a period of time. The courts also have discretion to order that a person convicted give a sample of his/her DNA.
The courts and authorities take uttering threats charges very seriously in a domestic violence situation. The maximum sentence for an uttering threats charge is a prison term of two years. If you are charged with threatening, it is very likely that you will also be under a no contact order with the victim of the threats.
It is important that you are properly represented by a domestic violence lawyer if you are facing charges of uttering threats in a domestic setting. A skilled and knowledgeable criminal lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and subsequent jail sentence and getting your domestic assault charges dropped.