When the general public hears words like “terroristic”, we often associate this with acts of domestic or international terrorism. Because acts like 9/11 or mass shootings are particularly heinous, it seems intuitive that “Terroristic Threats and Acts” would be among the worst of the worst charges, and come with the highest bar for conviction.
The actions required for Terroristic Acts are not quite that severe. They do not always require violence, and do not require several people to be affected. What is more problematic is that future employers or housing agencies will only see the name of the conviction you are given without the backstory, which can often create major life hurdles without the right criminal defense attorney. This is why it is incredibly important to retain the best legal representation available for this specific charge.
Both Terroristic Threats and Terroristic Acts share the base statute OCGA § 16-11-37. Terroristic threats are acts intended to cause fear in another, in one of three specific ways:
- Shooting at or throwing an object at a vehicle
- Using anything flaming (torch, cross, etc.- think KKK march) to induce fear
- Releasing hazardous chemicals
This statute is intent-based for the flaming objects and hazardous materials instances, meaning that it is not punishable unless the prosecutor can prove that your goal was to cause terror or public inconvenience (i.e., evacuating an airport). This is not true for the shooting/throwing an object at a vehicle instance. All that the prosecutor has to prove is that you did in fact commit this act- in theory, this could be as simple as throwing divorce papers you were just handed at the car that delivered them. Furthermore, unlike the Terroristic Threats statute, this statute does not require corroboration.
The full text of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-37(d) reads: “A person commits the offense of a terroristic act when: (1) He or she uses a burning or flaming cross or other burning or flaming symbol or flambeau with the intent to terrorize another or another’s household; (2) While not in the commission of a lawful act, he or she shoots at or throws an object at a conveyance which is being operated or which is occupied by passengers; or (3) He or she releases any hazardous substance or any simulated hazardous substance under the guise of a hazardous substance: (A) For the purpose of terrorizing another; (B) For the purpose of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation; (C) For the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience; or (D) In reckless disregard of the risk of causing the terror, evacuation, or inconvenience described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph.”
Terroristic Acts are felonies punished by 1-10 years in prison and /or a fine of up to $5,000. In the event that a serious physical injury is suffered due to the incident, your punishment is escalated significantly to 5-40 years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000.
The full text of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-37(d)(2) reads: “A person convicted of the offense of a terroristic act shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both; provided, however, that if any person suffers a serious physical injury as a direct result of an act giving rise to a conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, the person so convicted shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250,000.00, imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 40 years, or both”
CONTACT BIXON LAW TODAY
If you have been charged with Terroristic Threats or Terroristic Acts and need the best local criminal defense attorney, give Bixon Law a call today to speak to one of our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyers. We will vigorously defend your criminal defense rights, and advocate on your behalf to have your criminal case dismissed or your charges reduced. As experienced trial attorneys, we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. We are lawyers who are committed to helping people in difficult situations, and we invite you to call us at (404) 551-5684 for a free consultation on your case today.