We are all living in stressful times. We are all walking around in an uncertain mindset, seemingly being told what to do by someone different around every corner.  There have already been multiple reports of threats, harassment, and even murder of retail workers asking customers to wear masks in Michigan. Those same workers have had profanities spewed at them. Some have been endangered by others intentionally exposing them to germs.

During times like these, it is very easy for someone to become angry and lash out.  However, did you know that your words spoken out of simple aggravation and frustration can be deemed a credible threat, and possibly land you in jail?  Take for instance a retail worker asking a customer to do something in accordance with a certain rule that is in place for the protection of everyone around them.  However, that customer refuses, and proceeds to hurl threats of violence, and even death, at that worker for trying to tell them what to do.

If that worker chooses to press charges, the customer can be deemed by authorities to have made a credible threat against his or her life, and will therefore face criminal charges.  Section 750.411i of the Michigan Penal Code clearly states the definition of a credible threat as a threat to kill or physically injure another party making that person reasonably believe the threat could be carried out.  In addition, a credible threat causes the victim true emotional distress.

Regardless of how frustrated you get in this season, it is important that you remember to watch your words.  Even though we may not agree with something we are being asked to do, we should dispute it in a calm, non-aggressive manner so as to prevent any further unnecessary disruptions to life.  If you should find yourself charged with a credible threat of violence, consulting with an attorney as soon as possible can help ensure the best resolution to your case.