Terroristic Threat

What is a Terrorist Threat?

Usually, this sort of offense is the result of a heated argument between two people where someone threatens the other person. For example, saying that you are going to "punch" someone or that you are going to seriously hurt someone with the intent to scare the other person, even if you don't plan to hurt that person, can land you in jail facing serious harsh punishments and even a criminal record with life long consequences.

A person in Texas can be charged with the offense of terroristic threat if he/she "threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place any person in fear of imminent, serious bodily injury." In Texas, if you threaten to commit a crime that could cause harm to another person, or to property, you can be charged with terroristic threat. However, in order to be charged with this crime, it must additionally be alleged that you intended to place someone else, or a group of people, in fear of imminent bodily injury of a serious nature, intended to cause an agency that deals with an emergencies to react, or otherwise cause a serious public disruption (please see the statute, below, for an elaboration of these points).

Depending upon the circumstances, an allegation of terroristic threat can be a Class A or B misdemeanor, or even a third degree felony. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 6 months in county jail, and up to a $2000 fine. Class A misdemeanors have a penalty range which includes up to one year in the county jail, and up to a $4000 fine. For third degree felonies, the penalty range includes 2 to 10 years in the state penitentiary, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Texas Penal Code Section 22.07. TERRORISTIC THREAT. (a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:

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

(2) place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;

(3) 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;

(4) cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service;

(5) place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or

(6) influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the offense:

(1) is committed against a member of the person's family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence; or

(2) is committed against a public servant.

(d) An offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the actor causes pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.

(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(4), (a)(5), or (a)(6) is a felony of the third degree.

(f) In this section:

(1) "Family" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.003, Family Code.

(2) "Family violence" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(3) "Household" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.

(g) For purposes of Subsection (d), the amount of pecuniary loss is the amount of economic loss suffered by the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance as a result of the prevention or interruption of the occupation or use of the building, room, place, or conveyance.