Making a terrorist threat is generally defined as threatening to commit a violent crime to cause panic or terrorize someone. The threat must be a willful threat done with specific intent. The State of California has a law regarding making a terrorist threats.

Is Making Terrorist Threats the Same as Verbal Assault?

No. Verbal assault occurs when someone intentionally uses words in an attempt to place a person in apprehension of an imminent battery. The threatening words combined with the actions such as pointing a gun to someone’s head makes up verbal assault. Making terrorist threats involves verbal or written threats regarding damaging property or harming someone.

What is the California Terrorist Threats Law?

The State defines a terrorist threat to commit any violent crime with the purpose of:

  • Causing the public serious inconvenience
  • Terrorizing another person
  • Having reckless disregard for life of others
  • Causing the evacuation of a building, public transportation, or public assembly

Do the Threats Have to Be Verbal?

No. The charge includes written and verbal threats to cause property damage or bodily injury.

What is the Punishment for Making Terrorist Threats?

The criminal punishment varies depending on the facts of the case. But it can include a prison sentence, restitution, expensive fines, and/or parole.

Can I Be Sentence Under Three Strikes For Making Terrorist Threats?

Yes. Three strikes law provides a harsher punishment for a third felony offense. Factors for three strikes eligibility depend on the time between felonies, order of crimes committed, and discretion of the judge. As a result, a person can be sentenced to life in prison for making terrorist threats—if it’s their third felony conviction.

Should I Talk to an Attorney About Being Charged with Making Terrorist Threats?

Yes. Being accused of making terrorist threats is serious and involves potential prison time. Talk to a California criminal lawyer regarding a possible defense to the charge.