What are Terroristic Threats?
Generally, when one thinks of terroristic threats, he or she thinks of an international threat of violence, often involving suicide bombers, explosives, and mass destruction. While those things encompass the broad definition of terrorism, the Texas Penal Code includes much more than the more commonly thought of acts of terrorism.
Specifically, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), between 1980 and 2000, it recorded 335 incidents or suspected incidents of terrorism. Of those, 247 threats were attributed to domestic terrorists, and only 88 of them were determined to be international.
With that said, understanding terroristic threats and how they are prosecuted in Texas is important for understanding terrorism fully.
Georgetown Terroristic Threat Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been accused of making threats that are considered terroristic in nature, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Michael J. Price has been representing Texas defendants throughout the courtrooms in Williamson County, Texas for decades and understands how to defend those charged with terroristic threats.
Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. represents clients facing Texas criminal charges in Bell County, Milam County, Lee County, Williamson County, Bastrop County, Travis County, and Burnet County in Texas.
Call (512) 354-1880 now to schedule a free, no obligations, confidential, consultation with Attorney Michael J. Price.
Terroristic Threat Information Center
- What are the Elements of Terroristic Threats under § 22.07?
- What is the Difference Between Terroristic Threats and Regular Threats?
- How does Texas Prosecute Terroristic Threats?
- How Can You Defend Terroristic Threat Charges?
Elements of Terroristic Threat Charges
In Texas, a threat can subject a individual to serious criminal consequences. In order to convict a person of terroristic threat charges in violation of Texas Penal Code § 22.07, the State must prove all of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
A person can be charged for a terroristic threat if he or she threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with the intent to do either of the following:
- Cause a reaction of any type to the threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies –Class B Misdemeanor
- Place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
- Class A Misdemeanor if:
- The offense is committed against a member of the offender’s family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence; or
- The offense is committed against a public servant.
- Prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place –Class A Misdemeanor.
- Cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply, or other pubic service –Third-Degree Felony.
- Place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or –Third-Degree Felony.
- Influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state –Third-Degree Felony.
How Texas Charges Terroristic Threats
The type of penalty associated with terroristic threats will depend on the circumstances surrounding the threat. Each type of terroristic threat is penalized differently under Texas Penal Code § 22.07.
Thus, the potential classifications, and punishments include the following:
- Class B Misdemeanors – punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 fines.
- Class A Misdemeanors –punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 fines.
- State Jail Felony – punishable by up to two years in state jail and up to $10,000 fines.
- Third-Degree Felony –punishable by up to ten (10) years in prison and up to $10,000 fines.
Terroristic Threat Defenses
Considering that terroristic threats can be very unique crimes, that depend on varying and specific circumstances, it important to consider some common defenses to threat crimes in Texas.
Potential defenses may include:
- First Amendment – the First Amendment protects an individual’s freedom of speech in a very broad way. While these protections are not unlimited, and certain words, such as fighting words, are not protected speech, many accusations of threats fall under the protection of the First Amendment.
- Lack of Evidence –for a threat to be valid, there has to be more than “he said, she said” claims of violence. The State must be able to show that an alleged offender’s threats were valid.
Terroristic Threats vs. Regular Threats
One of the fundamental differences between a terroristic threat and a simply assaultive threat is the nature and intent behind the claim of violence.
With a terroristic threat, the intent is to place a person in fear of serious bodily injury, or to cause widespread threat or fear among the public or a group of individuals.
Many of the factors that constitute a terroristic threat involve the public or circumstances under which the public would assemble or be fearful. Thus, the intent is to threaten more than one individual.
Additionally, with an assaultive threat, serious bodily injury is the standard. An assault can be simply placing an individual in fear of harm or the threat of violence. Serious bodily injury generally involves injury that may cause or is likely to cause death.
Texas Penal Code § 22.07 – Visit the website of the Texas Legislature to find the full statutory disposition of the Texas criminal Statute for Terroristic Threats.
Find a Lawyer for Terroristic Threat Charges in Williamson County, TX
If you or someone you know has been charged with terroristic threats or any other assaultive charges in Georgetown, Texas, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney Michael J. Price, founder of Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C., is an experienced and zealous advocate who believes in fighting for the rights of criminal defendants. This means that each defendant is innocent until proven guilty and Attorney Price will battle every step of the way for a “not guilty” verdict.
Call Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. at (512) 354-1880 now to learn more about Michael J. Price, and how his skills may be put to use to fight for your best possible defense.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 15, 2017.