What Are the Texas Terroristic Threat Laws? Definition, Penalty…

Terroristic Threat – When is Making A Threat Against the Law in Texas?

In Texas, making a threat against another person can lead to a variety of criminal charges, depending on the circumstances.

Assault by Threat is an offense under the Texas Penal Code which can be charged when a person threatens another with bodily injury that is imminent. Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code provides the following:

Sec. 22.01. ASSAULT

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse;

This offense is a Class C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

However, under certain circumstances, Assault by Threat can include jail time. For instance, if the threat is made against an elderly or disabled individual, in which case it is a Class A misdemeanor.

Assault by Threat is a Class B misdemeanor if the threat is made by a spectator against an athlete, coach, referee, or other participant at a sporting event on account of that person’s performance of a duty or responsibility.

In other cases, certain types of threats are classified as a different type of offense – Terroristic Threat.

For example, if a person “threatens to commit any offense involving violence” to any person or property while having the intent to put that person in fear or “imminent, serious bodily injury” then that person could be charged with Terroristic Threat.

This is the most common type of Terroristic Threat charge, which is defined as:


(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:

(2) place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;

Terroristic Threat Punishment & Jail Time

Terroristic Threat under this section is a Class B Misdemeanor which is punishable by 0-180 days in a county jail and a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

Terroristic Threat Examples

There are other types of Terroristic Threats that fall under this statute, including threats that impact emergency response agencies, buildings, public utilities, public transportation, and those that “influence” the conduct of the government.

If a person makes a “terroristic threat” involving violence against a family member or household member, then it is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by 0-365 days in a county jail and a fine of up to $4,000, or both.

The offense of Terroristic Threat is also a Class A misdemeanor if it is made against a public servant.

When Is a Terroristic Threat a Felony in Texas?

If the Terroristic Threat is made to prevent the use of a building, place of employment, mode of transportation, among others, and there is a pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner, the charge might be enhanced to a state jail felony which is punishable by 6-24 months in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine, or both.

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If you or someone you know has been arrested for Terroristic Threat, or for making some other type of threat, contact Attorney for a free consultation.

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