Most people associate the term terrorism with horrific images such as the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, or the Boston Marathon bombing. When it comes to terroristic threats in Texas, however, state law defines any threat to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with the intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury as being a terroristic threat.
It is possible for terroristic threats to result in either state or federal charges, and the consequences of a conviction in either court have long-lasting consequences. A terroristic threat crime is a serious criminal allegation that can leave a lasting mark on a person’s criminal record that severely restricts their ability to find work or a place to live.
Terroristic Threats Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, TX
If you were arrested or believe that you are being investigated for allegedly making an alleged terroristic threat in Arlington, Grand Prairie, Fort Worth, or another part of Tarrant County, Texas, it is going to be critical for you to quickly find yourself legal representation. A criminal defense attorney will be able to assist you in fighting your criminal charges.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands the best ways to handle these kinds of criminal cases and will be able to work to possibly get criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to take advantage of a consultation.
State Charges for Terroristic Threats in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 22.07 establishes that it is a Class B misdemeanor if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies. It is also a Class B misdemeanor to threaten to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, although the charge can become a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed against a member of the person’s family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence, or is committed against a public servant.
Texas Family Code § 71.003 defines family as including individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Texas Government Code § 573.022 and 573.024, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together. Under Texas Family Code § 71.004, family violence is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; abuse, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or dating violence, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 71.0021.
Texas Family Code § 261.001 defines abuse under the specified sections as being physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm; sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2); causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic; the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child; causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code; and causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25.
Texas Family Code § 71.0021 defines dating violence as an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. The phrase “dating relationship” is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, and the existence of such a relationship must be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Terroristic threats are also a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to 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 forms of conveyance, or other public places. A terroristic threat is a third-degree felony when an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to do any of the following:
- Cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public services;
- Place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or
- Influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
Possible sentences associated with convictions for these crimes could include the following punishments:
- Class B misdemeanor — Fine of up to $2,000 and/or up-to 180 days in jail
- Class A misdemeanor — Fine of up to $4,000 and/or up-to one year in jail
- Third-Degree Felony — Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up-to five years in prison
Federal Charges for Terroristic Threats
Multiple federal agencies handle investigations of alleged terrorist plots in the United States. 18 U.S. Code § 2332b establishes that an alleged offender can face federal charges for threatening, attempting, or conspiring to:
- Kills, kidnap, maim, commit an assault resulting in serious bodily injury, or assault with a dangerous weapon any person within the United States; or
- Create a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States.
Threatening to commit one offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison as well as possible fines. When an alleged offender attempts or conspires to commit one of these offenses, a conviction is punishable by any term of years up to the maximum punishment that would have applied had the offense been completed.
Tarrant County Terroristic Threats Resources
Felony Charges Dropped in “Facebook Threat” Case — Read an Austin Chronicle story about Justin Carter, the then 18-year-old who was playing the multiplayer online strategy video game League of Legends in 2013 when he got into a verbal exchange with another player who called him crazy, and Justin responded by typing: “I’m f- – – – – in the head alright, I think I’ma SHOOT UP A KINDERGARTEN […] AND WATCH THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT RAIN DOWN […] AND EAT THE BEATING HEART OF ONE OF THEM.” Carter typed “LOL” and “JK” afterward, but a Canadian woman who saw the exchange took a screenshot and sent it to law enforcement officials in Texas who arrested Carter the following day on terroristic threat charges. In 2018, he accepted a plea deal dismissing the felony charges against him.
Patriot Act | United States Department of Justice — Short for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001,” the USA PATRIOT Act is a controversial Act of Congress. Visit this website to view the full text of the Act, review testimony, and learn what it does in regards to anti-terrorism efforts. Originally passed on October 26, 2001, the Patriot Act was reauthorized in 2005, amended and reauthorized in 2006, and had key provisions extended in 2011.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Terroristic Threats | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for allegedly making an alleged terroristic threat in Tarrant County? You need to take the criminal charges very seriously and act fast to find yourself, qualified legal counsel.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be able to fully investigate your case and know how to fight criminal charges so you can avoid some of the costliest penalties associated with a conviction. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to have our firm take the time to sit down with you and really address all of your concerns during a consultation.