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Understanding Terroristic Threat Charges in Texas

It’s a fact of life – not everyone gets along. Sometimes, personalities will clash, things will get heated and words will be said. Unfortunately, when things get out of hand and the words exchanged become threatening, the person who made the threats can face criminal charges under Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code, terroristic threat.

An individual commits an offense under Sec. 22.04 if he or she threatens to commit an act of violence towards another person or property with the intention of:

  • Placing the other person in fear of serious physical harm;
  • Preventing or interrupting the use or occupation of a workplace, automobile, aircraft, building or room, or other place that the public has access to;
  • Impairing or interrupting public utilities (e.g. water, gas or electric), public communications, or public transportation; or
  • Placing the public or a significant group of people in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

The offense of “terroristic threat” is a Class B misdemeanor, unless it’s committed against a member of one’s family or household or against a public servant, in which case it would be a Class A misdemeanor.

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, or by a fine not to exceed $2,000, or by a jail and confinement. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, or by up to one year in jail, or by a fine and confinement.

Examples of Terroristic Threats

Even though the term “terroristic” may automatically make someone think of terrorism, it doesn’t necessarily mean terrorism at all. Essentially, this offense has much to do with creating terror in others. Examples of making terroristic threats:

  • An enraged father tells his teenage daughter that he’s going to kill her.
  • A 19-year-old calls in a fake bomb threat to his old high school.
  • A man walks on a bus and for fun, says he has a bomb in his backpack.
  • During a traffic stop, a driver tells the police officer that he’s going to stab him if he comes near him.
  • An angry customer at a fast food restaurant threatens to beat up the manager if he doesn’t offer him a full refund.

As you can see, there are many ways that a person can be charged with terroristic threats, and if it’s against a peace officer or a family member, the person can face up to one year behind bars.

If you are facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to worked with a top-rated criminal defense team.