Texas Penal Code Article 22.07: Terroristic Threats, what are they?

For some of us, when we hear of a person making terroristic threats we think of a person causing trouble for political or religious reasons. But, according to the Texas Penal Code, just the mere threat of violence to a person or a person’s property is enough and the purpose behind the threat is not considered.

You can be charged with a terroristic threat charge if you threaten violence to a person or their property and (1) cause any type of reaction from an officer, volunteer, or any other agency that deals with emergencies; (2) put ANY person in fear of immediate injury to their self (3) prevent the use or interrupt the use of a building, public place, employment, aircraft, automobile, or other public place (4) cause interruption with any public communication, transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or any other public service (5) put the public or a number of people in fear of bodily harm 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.

Nowhere in the code is it defined that these threats must be made with any sort of political or religious views as the basis of the threat. So basically under section (2) of 22.07 the State could snag anyone with this charge if that person threatens serious, immediate violence to a person who believes that an injury is immediate. Which is similar to Penal Code 22.01 Assault, where a person threatens another with immediate injury to their body.

The range of punishment varies on this charge depending on which section is violated under the code. If the charge is under section (1) listed above it is a class B misdemeanor. The same is true for section (2) unless it is against a family member, a member of the household, or a public servant, then it becomes a Class A misdemeanor. Section (3) gets even more complex, it is a Class A but if the person committing the crime causes any loss of $1,500 or more to the person who owns the building, room, place, or conveyance it is then a state jail felony. If the act qualifies under (4), (5), or (6) it is then a 3rd degree felony.

Class A = fine no more then $4,000 and no more then one year in jail, Class B = fine no more then $2,000 and no more than 180 days in jail, state jail felony = range of punishment 180 days – 2 years and $10,000 fine, 3rd degree felony = range of punishment of 2-10 years and $10,000 fine.

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