Explainer: Terroristic threat charge comes with different levels of penalties
With several Valley students facing charges for making threats on social media this week, we’ve heard the charge "terroristic threat" thrown around a lot, but what does the charge mean?
There are six things in the Texas Penal Code that fall under a terroristic threat, and they have different levels of penalties.
A terroristic threat class B misdemeanor charge is classified as a reaction to the threat by an emergency official that places any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
In other words, if police respond to the threat, even if it's a joke, you could face six months in jail and a $2,000.
A terroristic threat class A misdemeanor charge is classified as a threat that places the public in fear of serious bodily injury.
So if the threat involves classmates and teachers, penalties include a year behind bars and a $4,000 fine.
A terroristic threat third degree felony includes impairing or interrupting a public service. So if the threat ends up shutting down the school, those found guilty of making the threat can face a 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
There's a lot of risk involved, even if you're just making a joke. Several local police departments have said they are meeting every threat – even if they’re jokes – with full force.
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