Asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Washington

Q: Is there a law about threats?

My friend was in their car, and a person pulled out a gun and pointed it at their car. My friend and his mom sped off in a different direction to escape. They got a good look at the car, but not the person and filed a police report. Is this a crime?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Yes, this is a crime. Pointing a gun at someone, even if no shots are fired, is generally considered a serious offense. Depending on the specific circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, this action could be classified as one or more of the following crimes:

1. Assault with a deadly weapon: Assault is usually defined as an intentional act that causes a person to fear imminent harm. When a deadly weapon, such as a gun, is used, the crime becomes more severe.

2. Menacing or brandishing a weapon: In many states, it is illegal to display a firearm in a threatening manner, even if no physical contact or verbal threat is made.

3. Terroristic threats: Some states have laws against making threats that cause fear or terror in others.

4. Aggravated assault: If the gun was pointed with the intent to cause serious bodily injury, it may be considered aggravated assault.

Your friend did the right thing by filing a police report. Even if the person is not immediately identified, having the incident on record can be helpful if the individual is caught in the future or if there are other similar reports in the area. Encourage your friend to cooperate with the police investigation and provide any additional information they may remember about the incident, the car, or the person who pointed the gun.

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