Guidelines for Parents: How to Respond if Your Child is Accused of Making a Terroristic Threat

No matter how ridiculous the accusations may seem, if your child has been accused of making any type of terroristic threat, the allegations can lead to life-changing consequences so you need to take the situation seriously. Speech that can be interpreted as a threat is not protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. In fact, threats can be prosecuted as a terroristic threat and your child could face misdemeanor or even felony charges. In addition, consequences at school and in other settings can impact your family’s life for years to come.

To defend your child’s future, you need to take proactive steps now.

Step 1: Learn About the Texas Terroristic Threat Crime Statute

While many people know that terrorist acts can be penalized severely, they are not aware that Texas has enacted a law that makes voicing a threat a crime on its own. Section 22.07 of the Texas Penal Code defines the offense as making a threat of violent action against either a person or property if that threat is made with a certain intent. Threatening violence becomes a criminal terrorist threat under the law if it is made with the intent to either:

  • Cause any type of reaction from an emergency agency
  • Cause a person to fear that they are in danger of imminent serious bodily injury, or
  • Interfere with the use of a public place
  • Interrupt or impair the delivery of utilities or public transportation
  • Cause a substantial group of people to fear they are in danger of serious bodily injury
  • Affect the actions of a government agency

The crime can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. While a threat made as a prank to get a response from the police might be prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor, a threat that interrupts public utilities is considered a third-degree felony. Remember that even a conviction for a seemingly minor misdemeanor charge can have a tremendous impact on your child’s future.

Step 2: Secure Representation from a Defense Attorney Who Understands Student Defense

Students who have been accused of crimes face negative consequences that go beyond the official criminal penalties. A criminal charge on the record can not only impact their academic opportunities but their entire future. It is important to work with a criminal defense team that not only understands how to fight criminal charges effectively but also how to minimize the negative consequences that can come along with those charges.

Step 3: Stay Off Social Media

With a crime where intent is such a crucial element, such as in the crime of making a terroristic threat, prosecutors will be looking for any statement or action that can be used to show evidence of intent. Things anyone in your family say or do can be taken out of context and used against your child, so it is best to avoid the opportunity to give a false impression. Stay off social media and ask your attorney for advice about what to say to friends, the school, and others.

Step 4: Support Your Child

If the incident treated as a threat was made as a joke, your child is probably feeling completely overwhelmed and betrayed. Chances are that others involved in the incident may not be sticking up for your child but instead acting to preserve their own interests. At a time like this, your child really needs to know that you support them and will work to protect them any way you can.

If the incident stemmed from frustration or anger, your child may need help. Perhaps they may need a channel to express anger safely or help processing feelings. Adolescence and the years leading up to it are difficult in all situations, but some individuals struggle with problems at a much more intense level. Support your child with counseling, legal defense, and whatever it takes to lead to brighter days ahead.

The Team at Barbieri Law Can Help If Your Child is Facing Allegations Involving Terroristic Threats

It may seem like your world has turned upside down in a hurry. Being accused of a crime is frightening, but finding out that your child has been accused of a crime can hit you ten times harder. Talking over the situation with an experienced and compassionate criminal defense attorney can put your life back into focus.

At Barbieri Law Firm, we work relentlessly to protect the rights and future of those accused of challenging and complex crimes. We treat you with compassion but fight your charges with ferocity. To schedule a free confidential case evaluation, contact our team today online or by calling 972-424-1902.

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