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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27433
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was recently arrested for making terroristic threats by phone

Customer Question

I was recently arrested for making terroristic threats by phone on a collection agency. That night in jail I talked to a detective and admitted everything and apologized for my actions. I even completed an apology letter for the prosecuting attorney, which he even admitted might help.I was released from the city jail the next day, but they said a warrant still may be issued up to 1 year from the date I was released. I didn't go to the collection agency or actually do anything other than the phone threats and definitely don't plan to anything like this again. I think they were trying to teach me a lesson and by keeping me locked up that night and having no idea what was going to happen I was scared. So do u think they might have let me go to see if I was planning to do something and then file charges or is it just so busy these days that I should still expect something in the mail? It's been over a month now.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.

Hello Jacustomer,

If the police and the prosecutor thought that you were a legitimate threat to society, they would have kept you in jail, brought you before the judge and arraigned you on these charges. While I cannot guarantee it because the state does have the year to go forward should it wish to, I don't think they plan on prosecuting you for this action.

Generally, when the police don't make an immediate arrest it's to do more investigation to make sure of their evidence. Here, however, there's no need of further investigation. You confessed to the police that you committed the act and wrote a letter to that effect as well. Also they already had you in hand. Why let you go in the first place when they had a signed confession?

Just avoid doing anything further that puts you on your police's radar screen. That is, stay out of trouble and I think you'll be fine.

Incidentally, collections agencies can be very tough to deal with and they like to harass people, which makes it sometimes hard to keep your cool. But they are not allowed to be over aggressive, to harass you for payment, or to threaten legal action or arrest. There are all sorts of consumer laws that protect you from an obnoxious debt collector. So if there's a next time, with this agency or any other, just get the name of the company and tell them that you are going to be contacting the Federal Trade Commission because they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. And then report them as you promised to They can be fined $1,000
for every improper collection attempt.

Good luck to you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. That first part sounds pleasing to the mind, but the last part about contacting the collection agency or letting them know I could contact the ftc is poor advice. The police officer who was on duty that released me gave me heads up and said "Under no circumstances are u to have any contact with the collection agency". I said not even if I decide to pay them. He said "no they could turn it around on u and say u were making more threats". I liked most of your answer, I will have to rate accordingly, however. Sorry.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.

Hello Christopher,

I think you misunderstood what my intentions were. I did NOT recommend calling the collection agency and making additional threats.

I was making sure you knew what rights you had in the event you are harrassed by this agency again or any other. You can look at the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and see exactly what I mean. Collection agencies are not entitled to harass or threaten you or try to bully you into making a payment.

Here is a wonderful overview of the act put out by the FTC of how to correctly deal with overaggressive collection agencies. (see link) Here, for that matter is a link to the entire act. You have far more legal rights here than any collection agency does. (see link)

Your police officer may know his criminal law, but he clearly knows no consumer law. No, you can't reach out to these people to bother them further. But yes, absolutely, IF it was they who hounded you in an impermissable manner in the first place, and that's what caused you to lose your temper and threaten them, you are entitled to call the FTC and report their behavior. You do not have to say anything further to the company to do that, it is your right as a consumer to do it, and you cannot be arrested for exercising that right. Note that I said IF. If the agency's behavior was in keeping with the law, you certainly don't want to file a frivolous report.

I also assume that the officer isn't suggesting that you don't pay them if you indeed do owe this debt. That would be unwise and could get you sued. Just don't enclose a letter with the check.

I stand by both parts of my answer. Please consider re-rating me now that I have explained what I meant.

Have a good weekend.