Terroristic Threat Family Member
Brian Foley is criminal defense lawyer in Conroe, Texas that represents people accused of Terroristic Threat Family Member in Conroe, Houston, and the Woodlands along with the surrounding counties. Brian is a former chief prosecutor and has handled thousands of Terroristic Threat and assault charges. Now he represents individuals who have been charged with a crime and need their rights protected.
What is a Terroristic Threat Family Member Charge?
When most people hear “terroristic threat” they are thinking about bomb threats or members of foreign terrorist organizations but in Texas, terroristic threat cases don’t generally involve international terrorism. A person commits a terroristic threat if the person intentionally or knowingly threatens to commit an offense involving violence to any other person or property with the intent to:
place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; and
is committed against a member of the person's family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence.
Often times these crimes are charged when an argument has gotten out of hand or too heated. One party will allege that the other party said something to the effect of, “I’m going to kick your ass!” Once this is reported to the police an arrest could be made for Terroristic Threat. Other examples of phrases that could be considered Terroristic Threat.
I’m going to kill you.
If you don’t give me that phone I’ll knock you out (imminent conditional threat).
Here are examples of things that would not be considered terroristic threat:
If you don’t grade my road I’ll kick your ass (non-imminent conditional threat).
If you come on my property I’ll shoot you (when stated to trespassers).
What if the victim wasn't afraid?
Every now and then someone is arrested for terroristic threat and they know that the person who they “threatened” was not actually placed in fear. Maybe the person arrested for terroristic threat was significantly more afraid of the alleged victim because of a difference in size or gender. The highest court in Texas known as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that "it is not necessary that the victim or anyone else was actually placed in fear of imminent serious bodily injury[,] all that is necessary . . . is a desire . . . to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury." Dues v. State, 634 S.W.2d 304, 305-06 (Tex. Crim. App. 1982).
How can you challenge a Terroristic Threat Charge?
Challenging a terroristic threat family member charge starts with a thorough review of the evidence provided by the district attorney’s office. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Section 39.14 requires the District Attorney to provide the defense will all evidence including evidence which may be favorable to the accused. In a terroristic threat case there is typically no physical evidence of a confrontation or contact and most terroristic threats are verbal statements only. This means that if the threat was not recorded in text message voicemail or caught on video then the only way to prove a terroristic threat is to believe the witness beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled defense attorney can bring up biases and inconsistencies in the account of a complaining witness through cross examination.
What is the punishment for Terroristic Threat Family Member?
In Texas a Terroristic Threat that is committed against a member of the defendant’s family, household, or a person with whom the accused citizen has had a dating relationship is a Class A misdemeanor. A class A Misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Possible Enhancement: If you have been previously convicted of Terroristic Threat against a family, household member, or a person you were dating then future Assaults that cause bodily injury against the same type of victim will be enhanced from Class A Misdemeanors to Third degree felonies and are punishable by a maximum of 10 years and a $10,000 fine.