What is a Terrorist Threat?
When an individual makes a criminal threat, specifically when the result of the crime threatens is terror, serious injuries, physical property damage, or death. Not all threats are criminal or considered terrorist threats because the state and federal laws on terrorist threats differ widely. A terrorist threat needs to have the next elements:
The threat can be expressed verbally or in writing, but it does not have to be explicitly expressed in these manners, as a terrorist threat can be done through insinuation or even body language.
The threat made must have a specificity, whether it is death, serious injury, or grave property damage; still, the threat doesn’t have to specify the time when the attack will take place. If a threat involves a present or future attack then that’s enough. In simpler words, a specific intent that the statement can be taken as a threat.
In order to qualify as a terrorist threat, it has to be reasonable. The person attempting to commit a crime must be able to conclude that the threat is credible. How is something not credible? For example, by saying you’re going to destroy a huge building or institution with the help of your alien army (although, even so, federal authorities might still end up knocking on your door.) A reasonable threat is a situation that falls under unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific circumstances that would lead to directly affect the person or place threatened, making them an immediate prospect to execute the threat.
The actions determine if a crime has been committed, but making someone afraid as a result of a threat is sometimes enough to qualify as a terrorist threat but if terror is achieved, then it would mean that the victim’s fear was reasonable under the circumstances.
What Are the Types of Terrorism?
- State-Sponsored terrorism, terrorist acts on a state or government by a state or government
- Dissent terrorism, terrorist groups which have rebelled against their government
- Terrorists and the Left and Right, groups rooted in political ideology
- Religious terrorism, extremely religiously-motivated terrorist groups
- Criminal Terrorism, are terrorist acts used to aid in crime and criminal profit.
Is a Terrorist Threat Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony in the State of California?
Individuals that make terrorist threats face many possible penalties. According to the Penal Code 422 C of California, criminal threats can be charged whether or not the accused had the ability to carry out the threat. The defendant shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. The crime can be qualified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances – also called a “wobbler.” If the defendant is convicted of a felony, then he or she faces up to four years in the California state prison.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Misdemeanors are punishable by substantial fines or jail time, but most misdemeanors are adjudicated in a shortened trial; and if the defendant is going to serve any jail term, then it would most likely be served in a local or county jail. On the other hand, a felony is the more serious type of crime and is often classified by degrees – being the first one the most serious. A felony is punishable by substantial fines and prison sentences that exceed the year. If a defendant is convicted of a felony, then jail time will be served in a state or federal correctional institution.
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