Criminal Threats in Washington, D.C.

There are two forms of the criminal offense of “threats” in Washington, D.C.:  (1) threats to do bodily injury, and (2) threats to kidnap or injure a person or damage his property.

“Threats to do bodily injury” is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 6 months in prison and/or maximum fine of $500.  In order to secure a conviction for this offense, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant uttered words to another person, (2) the words were of such a nature to cause the “ordinary hearer” reasonably to believe that the threatened harm would take place, and (3) the defendant intended to utter the words as a threat.. Crimes Code § 22-407.

Threats as a felony offense requires the government to prove that (1) the defendant uttered words to another person, (2) the words were of such a nature to put a reasonable person in fear of being kidnapped or seriously injured or of hacing his property damaged, and (3) the defendant intended to utter the words as a threat.  This offense is punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years and a $5000 fine.  D.C. Crimes Code § 22-1810.