Terroristic threats might seem like something that only happens outside the United States, but they are common here as well. Making a threat of terrorism can be anything from threatening to bomb a local school to suggesting you’d be willing to open fire on a local church group. The point of terrorism is to intimidate the government and civilians, so any case that seems to point in that direction could result in a person facing charges for making terroristic threats.

It can be hard to prove that a person made legitimate terroristic threats, which is a good thing for your case. Intent plays a role when there are allegations against you. For example, if a teen is angry and shouts that he’s going to blow up someone’s school, the reality is that the person may have no actual intention to do so. It’s a terroristic threat on the surface, but the prosecution has to show that the act appears to be intended to make the charge stick.

Another situation that might lead to an investigation against you would be if you’re posting anti-American or violent passages on social media accounts. If those passages suggest that you’ll use a bomb, intend to cause harm or otherwise intimidate or impact the United States, you could face allegations of making terroristic threats.

If you are convicted of making terroristic threats, the penalties are severe. You could face imprisonment for up to 10 years for simple threats. For maiming, you face up to 35 years. The death penalty is possible in some cases that result in other people’s deaths.

Source: FindLaw, “Terrorism and Terroristic Threats,” accessed Oct. 13, 2017