• By: William Ashe, Esq.
  • Published: April 4, 2022
William Ashe explains Maine's terrorizing charges, emphasizing the communication of threats

Maine law defines the charge of terrorizing as:


1. A person is guilty of terrorizing if that person in fact communicates to any person a threat to commit or to cause to be committed a crime of violence dangerous to human life, against the person to whom the communication is made or another, and the natural and probable consequence of such a threat, whether or not such consequence in fact occurs, is:
A. To place the person to whom the threat is communicated or the person threatened in reasonable fear that the crime will be committed. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime; or
B. To cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transport or to cause the occupants of a building to be moved to or required to remain in a designated secured area. Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime.

In breaking down the statute, we see that the first component of terrorizing is that there must be a threat communicated. Terrorizing charges can be based upon any type of communication from one person to another. These could include face-to-face, phone, text, messenger, email or even letter. The next element is that the communication must be a threat to commit or cause to be committed a crime of violence dangerous to human life. In Maine, dangerous to human life means a substantial likelihood that death or serious bodily injury will result.

One common area of confusion is contingent statements. Often there are threats made that require some other event to occur. An example might be “If you come back here, I’ll kill you.” So in that example, there is clearly a threat. The threat is also to commit a crime of violence dangerous to human life. But the threat requires an event to occur first ie “if you come back here.” These type of threats often do not rise to the level of terrorizing because of the contingent event. I tend to focus on the nature of the contingency. If the contingent event is something that a person has every right to do “if you show your face in town again,” I think that would be terrorizing. If the contingent event is something that person does not have every right to do, “if you don’t stop harassing my daughter,” I think that would not be terrorizing.

As you can see from my descriptions, terrorizing can be a complex charge. These cases are often quite defensible because of the subjective nature of what the statute is trying to prohibit. If you get charged with terrorizing, call a defense attorney as soon as possible.

William Ashe, Esq Attorney - Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ellsworth Maine - Ashe Law Offices

William Ashe is an experienced trial attorney with a career track record of determined
effective representation and consistent sustained success on behalf of his clients. He has
been named to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys every year
since 2014 and has a perfect 10.0 rating by the lawyer rating site Avvo. (207) 813-2935

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