Experienced Criminal Threats Lawyer Helping the Accused in Seattle

It’s against the criminal laws in the state of Washington to make what are called “criminal threats.” What are criminal threats? A criminal threat occurs when one person threatens another with physical harm. This threat can be directed at the person through email, a telephone call, or even a text message. It must be specific and unambiguous. In the Seattle area, you can be arrested for making a criminal threat even if you don’t have the ability to follow through with the threat. If you are charged with making a criminal threat, contact experienced Seattle criminal threats attorney Kevin Trombold immediately. For more than twenty years, Seattle criminal defense lawyer Kevin Trombold has represented Seattle-area clients facing a variety of criminal charges including making criminal threats. Criminal defense attorney Kevin Trombold is ready to defend you.


Making a criminal threat can be charged under Washington’s criminal codes as harassment. What’s considered harassment? In the eyes of the law, a person has committed harassment if he knowingly threatens:

  • To injure someone either now or sometime in the future; or
  • To damage someone’s property; or
  • To restrain or confine a person; or
  • To act in a way intended to cause harm to a person with respect to that person’s mental and physical health and safety (both physical and mental)


Clients often ask “Are text messages harassment?” or “Is making a verbal threat a crime?” and the answer to both these questions is yes. Threats can be made through verbal or electronic means. What’s considered a verbal threat? An example of a verbal threat is telling someone you are going to hurt him or her, while an example of a electronic threat is sending a text or email stating the same.

But, people often wonder, “When does harassment become criminal?” In addition to meeting the criteria mentioned above, the words or conduct used by the accused must place the victim in a reasonable amount of fear that the accused will carry out the threat.

Who decides what harassment is? Ultimately, the decision to bring charges against the defendant is made by the prosecution, not the victim.


What are harassment charges in the state of Washington? If the threat that was made did not mention killing the victim and there is no prior history of you threatening or harassing the victim or his or her family, then the crime will most likely be charged as a gross misdemeanor. This misdemeanor may be punishable upon conviction by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. When is harassment a felony? If you did make a death threat against the victim or you have a prior conviction for harassing the victim or his or her family, then you may be charged with a class C felony , which means you could face up to five years in prison as well as a fine of $10,000. If you are a first time offender and convicted of felony harassment, you will still face a minimum of one to three months in jail because of the seriousness of the crime.

Besides these criminal penalties, you may also face alienation by friends and loved ones after you have been charged and/or convicted. It may be difficult for you to find employment or housing, since many employers and landlords do not want to associate with someone who has been convicted of harassment in the past.


A victim does not have to have a personal relationship with the accused in order to file harassment charges. However, harassment often occurs between two people who know each other. If there is a current or previous history between the victim and the accused that constitutes a domestic relationship, then the penalties for the crime may be enhanced. You may face additional fines and a lengthier prison sentence, especially if you are a repeat offender. In this situation, you may be asked to surrender any firearms that you have, even if you legally own them, and a no-contact order may also be issued to prevent you from reaching out to the victim again.


In Washington, making threats or committing crimes against a person because of his or her race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability is known as malicious harassment. You may be wondering “Is ethnic intimidation a hate crime?” In Washington, malicious harassment is a hate crime. This crime may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. If you have been charged with this crime, it’s best to seek representation from a local attorney as soon as possible.


Consequences for a harassment conviction can be severe. However, an arrest or charge against you does not mean you will be convicted, especially if a qualified Seattle criminal threats attorney is defending you in court. There are two sides to every story, even when it comes to making criminal threats and allegations of harassment. Without substantial evidence or eyewitness verification, making a criminal threat is a criminal offense that’s difficult for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt or to win a criminal conviction. In your defense, you may be able to claim that your threat was vague and non-specific, that you were misunderstood, or that you made no threat and the story is a fabrication. Many defendants believe they are just making harmless jokes but then find themselves facing serious charges in Washington courts. False accusations are often made against defendants, especially in domestic situations. These domestic situations can also lead victims to exaggerate or embellish what really happened to make it sound worse in the hopes that you are punished. In these situations, the prosecutors must know how to prove criminal threats were made.

Among the region’s criminal defense attorneys, when experienced Seattle criminal threats attorney Kevin Trombold handles your case, you can be certain that you’ll be aggressively represented and that your side of the story will be told and understood. If you have been charged with making criminal threats, contact our office as soon as possible.

Seattle Criminal Threats Attorney


Without regard to the level of a hate crime offense, hate crime incidents are a priority for the Seattle Police. Victims are encouraged to call the SPD if an incident is in progress or if you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime.

Anyone who is charged with a hate crime will need to consult an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle Police Department classifies an alleged hate crime incident into one of three categories depending upon the severity of the allegation:

Malicious harassment: Malicious harassment happens when a suspect is motivated to target a particular person or persons for a crime based on a belief about the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, handicap, homelessness, marital status, age, parental status, gender, or political ideology. Malicious harassment is usually an assault, damage to property, or the threat of harm.

Crimes with bias elements: When biased comments are made by any criminal committing any crime in Seattle, that crime is considered a crime with “bias elements.”

Non-criminal bias incidents: These incidents happen when offensive or derogatory language is hurtful but does not rise to the level of a hate crime and may, in fact, fall under the category of free speech. Still, such comments may generate fear and concern while making a victim feel harassed, offended, or intimidated.

One Seattle hate crime incident recently gained national attention because it was posted on Facebook. King County prosecutors charged Sandra Jametski, 48, with malicious harassment in December for allegedly posting the racially-themed rant back in November. In the video, the narrator is following a female driver, complaining about “Spanish privilege,” and saying the driver and her family don’t belong in the United States. The female voice on the video says, “We don’t drive like you’re in Mexico, lady.”

Prosecutors allege that Jametski made the video as she followed the female driver on her regular daily drive to her son’s school. At the school’s parking lot, Jametski confronted the female driver, threatened to ram her SUV, and even threatened to have the woman deported, all while recording the confrontation on her cellphone. Jametski was arrested by Seattle Police on December 3rd.


If you’ve been charged in the city of Seattle with violating the criminal law by making a criminal threat, put criminal defense lawyer Kevin Trombold to work for you. A criminal charge can greatly impact the rest of your life unless you work with a criminal defense attorney. Seattle criminal defense attorney Kevin Trombold and his staff will work as quickly as possible to investigate your case and begin protecting your rights. With decades of experience, Kevin Trombold has established himself as one of the most respected attorneys in the Seattle area. Some of Kevin Trombold’s practice areas include domestic violence, theft, assault, DUI, sex crimes, drug offenses, juvenile cases, and burglary. If you or a loved one is facing criminal threat charges in or around the Seattle area, please contact the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold by calling us by phone at 206-249-9656 or filling out the form on this website. You can schedule a free consultation with a Washington state attorney who will provide you with legal advice and resources regarding your case.