The Terroristic Threat crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you threatened to commit a violent offense in order to cause a disturbance or harm. Learn more detailed information about the Terroristic Threat offense below.
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The Terroristic Threat offense is described as a “specific intent” type of offense primarily because prohibiting speech is difficult to do without infringing on the constitutional rights of free speech.
Terroristic Threat is closely related to the Assault by Threat law.
Terroristic Threat is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person”, Chapter 22 “Assaultive Offenses.”
The current Texas law defines the offense of Terroristic Threat in Penal Code Section §22.07 as follows:
(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.
You can be charged with Terroristic Threat if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 22.07(a) as described in the section above have been met.
If the offense falls under subsection (a)(1), then a conviction for Terroristic Threat is punished as a Class B misdemeanor, with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days.
If the offense falls under subsection (a)(2), it is punished as a Class B misdemeanor, unless the offense was committed against a family member or public servant, in which case a conviction for Terroristic Threat is punished as a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year.
If the offense falls under subsection (a)(3), it is punished as a Class A misdemeanor unless loss to the building is $1,500 or more, in which case it is punished as a State Jail Felony.
If the offense falls under subsection (a)(4), (5), or (6) then a conviction for Terroristic Threat is punished as a Felony of the Third Degree, with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors
In 2017, the 85th Texas Legislature passed H.B. 2908, creating a new enhancement, effective September 1, 2017. This new enhancement makes a Terroristic Threat conviction a state jail felony “if the offense is committed against a person the actor knows is a peace officer or judge.”
^1. Texas Penal Code §22.07^2. Texas Penal Code §22.07(b)^3. Texas Penal Code §22.07(c)^4. Texas Penal Code §22.07(d)^5. Texas Penal Code §22.07(e)^6. House Bill 2908, 85th Texas Legislature, Sections 6-7^7. Texas Penal Code §22.07(c-1), as created by H.B. 2908, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 4, effective September 1, 2017