What Is A Terrorist Threat?

  • Terrorism threats, or terroristic threats, involve threats to cause a crime of violence and often involve the evacuation of premises, buildings, places of assembly; other threats are meant to cause serious public interference in an intentionally reckless manner.
  • Terrorism threats have increased greatly since the 9/11 acts of terrorism.

About Terrorist Threats:

  • “Making a terrorist threat” is a broad term that is applicable at the state and federal levels.
  • Terrorist threats may have numerous meanings that may be applied to various and specific situations.
  • Terrorist threats may be applicable to bomb threats, hate crimes and violence in general.
  • The meaning of terrorist threats varies according to each state’s statutes.
  • The meaning of terrorist threats may generally be said to include acts of violence that terrorize individuals and the public in general.

What May Be Included in a Terrorist Threat:

  • A specific threat to commit a crime that is likely to harm others, resulting in injury or death.
  • The threat was intended to be perceived as a threat.
  • The threat is specific and clear.
  • Fear was induced in the victim by the threat and the victim believed the threat could be carried out.
  • The threat was possible and viable.

United States Patriot Act and Terrorism Threats

The United States Patriot Act and Terrorism Threats:

  • After the terrorist acts of 9/11, the USA Patriot Act was enacted to ostensibly protect the United States from acts of terrorism.
  • The Patriot Act was created “To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.”
  • “This Act may be cited as the ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.’

Domestic Terrorism – Patriot Act:

  • Domestic terrorism defined according to Sec. 802 of Patriot Act:
  • A. Involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
  • B. Appear to be intended
  • 1. To intimidate or coerce a civilian population
  • 2. To influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
  • 3. To affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  • C. Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States

Delaware’s “Terroristic Threatening” Statute:

Under 11 Del. C. Sec. 621, Terroristic threatening:

A person is guilty of terroristic threatening when he or she commits any of the following:

  • The person threatens to commit any crime likely to result in death or in serious injury to person or property; or
  • The person makes a false statement or statements:

Knowing that the statements are likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility or public transportation; or

  • Knowing that the statement or statements are likely to cause serious inconvenience; or
  • In reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror or serious inconvenience; or
  • The person commits an act with intent of causing an individual to believe that the individual has been exposed to a substance that will cause the individual death or serious injury.
  • Penalty: Class G felony or Class A misdemeanor

Michigan Defines Act of Terrorism:

  • The Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act, signed into law in 2002, defines an “act of terrorism” as a “…willful and deliberate act that is a violent felony, that the person knows or has reason to know is dangerous to human life, and is intended to coerce or intimidate a civilian population or influence a government through coercion or intimidation.”
  • Therefore, a person is guilty of terrorism if “…he or she knowingly and with premeditation, commits an act of terrorism…”
  • Penalty under Michigan law for a conviction of a terrorist act is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Michael S. Berg
Attorney At Law