The Texas Terrorism law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you committed or conspired to commit certain offenses (described below) with the intent to intimidate the public or influence public policy or the government.
FAQs about the
Terrorism law in Texas
- What is the current Texas law about Terrorism?
- How can I be charged with a Terrorism offense in Texas?
- What is the statute of limitation for Terrorism in Texas?
- What is the penalty for a Texas Terrorism offense?
- Can you get probation for Terrorism in Texas?
- What level of crime is Terrorism in Texas?
The Texas Legislature passed a bill that created several different terror-related offenses in 2023. The legislature intended the new state terrorism crimes to target “terrorists” who knowingly used terror tactics oand people who provided material support to the “terrorists” to “terrorist organizations.”
Have you been charged with Terrorism? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with attorneys Paul Saputo and Nicholas Toufexis today.
Commission of any of the new offenses carries a mandatory penalty level enhancement and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years for felonies and 180 days for misdemeanors. In addition to the new criminal laws, the legislature also created a “Terrorist Offender Registry,” similar to the sex offender registry. These new terrorism laws went into effect on September 1, 2023.
The Penal Code codifies the Texas Terrorism law under Title 12 “Terrorism,” Chapter 76 “Terroristic Offenses.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Terrorism below.
The current Texas law defines the offense of Terrorism in Penal Code Section §76.02 as follows:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) commits or conspires to commit an offense under:
(A) Chapter 19;
(B) Section (C) Section (D) Section 20A.02;
(E) Section 22.02;
(F) Section 22.021;
(G) Section 22.05, if punishable as a felony;
(H) Section 22.07, if punishable as a felony;
(I) Section 22.09;
(J) Section 28.02;
(K) Section 28.07, if punishable as a felony;
(L) Section 29.03;
(M) Section 38.152, if punishable as a felony; or
(N) Section 46.08; and
(2) commits or conspires to commit that offense with the intent to:
(A) intimidate or coerce the public or a substantial group of the public; or
(B) influence, by intimidation or coercion, the policy, conduct, or activities of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States.
The state can charge you with Terrorism in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 76.02 as described in the section above have been met.
The statute classifies the Terrorism offense as one category higher than the most serious offense listed in Subsection (a) that was committed or conspired to be committed. However, Class A misdemeanors do not turn into felonies. Instead, Terrorism convictions where the underlying offense is a Class A misdemeanor will carry a 180-day mandatory jail sentence in lieu of a classification increase. Likewise, first degree felonies do not turn into capital felonies. A Terrorism case with a base offense at the first degree felony level will carry a minimum 15 year prison sentence.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Terrorism, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.
Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years. Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.
The penalty for a Terrorism conviction ranges from a misdemeanor to the highest felonies. The specific classification is based on the underlying offense.
Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.
^1. Texas Penal Code §76.02. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. SB 1518, 88th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 5^3. SB 1518, 88th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 6^4. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^5. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^6. Texas Penal Code §76.02(b)^7. §76.02(b)(1), Texas Penal Code^8. §76.02(b)(2), Texas Penal Code^9. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^10. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^11. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure