What is a terrorist threat?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | Criminal Defense

The right to free speech is a cherished right in the United States. Still, you cannot expect the government to protect your speech if it causes great harm to others. One kind of speech the law will not protect is making a terrorist threat.

The law takes terrorist threats seriously. They can cause people to panic in trying to escape a possible terrorist situation. A terrified group of people may cause harm to others by pushing or trampling them to get away. Threats to commit violent acts can also induce emotional distress and cause psychological harm that persists afterward.

A threat to commit a terrorist act

Missouri law explains that one way to communicate a terrorist act is to threaten to commit a terrorist act yourself. You may have no intention of actually causing other people harm. Still, the fact that you make such a threat can be enough to cause great fright and a disruption to people’s lives. The threat can be explicit or subtle.

Communicating false information

State law could find you guilty of making a terrorist threat even if you are not conveying a personal intention to hurt others. Instead, you might make a phone call or send a text to a location claiming that a terrorist act will take place there even if you know the claim is false. Additionally, your communication might only imply that a dangerous situation exists in order to cause fear of it.

This area of law could be a problem since you may communicate information that you do not realize is untrue. Missouri law points out that you would not be guilty of an offense if you acted in good faith to stop people from getting hurt. This is something to keep in mind if you should become involved in a terrorist threat case.