In Texas, a terroristic threat isn’t what you might expect it to be. The adjective “terroristic” might bring to mind some very specific associations, but the legal concept of a “terroristic threat” is probably broader than most people think.
We live in a post-9/11 world where “terrorism” can mean something very specific, but the Texas law concerning terroristic threats was originally enacted in 1974. Back then, and as it legally means today, a “terroristic threat” occurs when someone threatens to commit a violent crime against people or property with a specific intent.
That intent can include any of the following:
- Cause official or volunteer agencies that deal with emergencies to react in any way
- Put someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- Disrupt or prevent the use and/or occupation of a room, building, assembly place, workplace, publicly accessible space, automobile, aircraft, or any other form of conveyance
- Impair or interrupt public communications, public transportation, and public utilities or services of any kind
- Influence the conduct of activities of any government agent or agency
Texas also has a law that prohibits “assault by threat,” which is a Class C misdemeanor. Assault by threat has a lower threshold than making a terroristic threat, requiring only the threat of immediate harm or a physical act that could cause minimal injury.
Making a Terroristic Threat Is a ‘Wobbler’ in Texas
Making a terroristic threat is a wobbler offense in Texas. This means that it may be charged as either a Class B misdemeanor or a third-degree felony depending on the severity of the circumstances.
This means that a conviction for making a terroristic threat can result in up to 180 days in jail if it’s charged as a misdemeanor or up to 10 years in prison if charged as a felony. Fines can also range between $2,000 and $10,000.
Terroristic Threat Defenses
If you are accused of making a terroristic threat, there are several different defenses your attorney can use.
These can include the following:
- You lacked intent to follow through with the threat
- The alleged victim overreacted to your threat
- You are a victim of mistaken identity
- Your speech is protected by the First Amendment
- There isn’t enough evidence to convict you
If you’re currently facing charges for making a terroristic threat, you need legal assistance to defend your rights and ensure you are fairly treated by the legal system. Our attorneys at Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. can provide the legal support you need during this time, which includes building a defense that can mitigate your responsibility for the accusations against you.
If you want to learn more about how we can help, contact Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. online now.