Terrorism & Terroristic Threats

It sounds really bad: Terroristic Threat. In a post-9/11 world, the words scare people.

In most cases it’s not really terrorism (the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims) though. Under the Texas Penal Code terroristic threat is threatening to commit a violent offense with the intent to cause a reaction.

Terroristic Threat CasesMost commonly, the reaction intended is “to place any person in fear of imminent bodily injury.” Threaten to commit a violent offense with the intent to place any person in fear of imminent bodily injury?

This sounds a lot like a Class C misdemeanor assault by threat (“intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily injury”). But that sort of Terroristic Threat is a Class B misdemeanor, a Class A if committed against a family member (loosely defined) or a public servant. Much more serious than the identical assault by threat.

Other non-terrorist intents that might make a threat Terroristic under Texas law are:

To cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies (Class B misdemeanor);

To prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building or vehicle (Class A misdemeanor, unless there is a financial loss of $1,500 or more, in which case it is a state-jail felony;

To cause impairment or interruption of public services (third-degree felony, 2–10 years in prison); or

To place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury (also a third-degree felony). Some men just want to watch the world burn.

One category of Terroristic Threat might be true terrorism — threatening a violent offense with the intent to “influence the conduct or activities of “ the government. That sort of terroristic threat is a third-degree felony as well.

Whether you are charged with misdemeanor or felony terroristic threat, it is not a good thing to have on your permanent record. You need expert counsel to help you fight it. Call Bennett & Bennett. 713-224-1747.