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Understanding terrorism and terroristic threats

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2022 | Federal Offenses

Terrorism is not just something that happens in other countries, but it can be observed in Rhode Island and throughout the U.S. as well. Acts or threats of violence with the intention of intimidation are illegal under federal law. Many states also have laws against terrorism. It’s crucial to recognize terrorism even as it seems to grow more pervasive and deadly.

Terrorism is outlawed under federal law

Terrorism and terroristic threats are clearly federal felonies. Terrorism is defined as acts of violence that are designed to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. It can also be used to try to influence the policy of a government. Typical terroristic actions include political assassinations, kidnapping, and mass destruction, such as the Twin Towers attack.

These types of acts, or threats to commit such acts, will be considered terrorism regardless of the intent of the person who commits them. They immediately become terrorism when they injure, or make the threat to injure, members of the government or civilians. All associated acts of violence will be charged with criminal liability.

Terrorism can be foreign or domestic

Federal law defines terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, as roughly the same. The main point of interest will be the intent behind the act or threat. Acts of international terrorism are clearly defined and provided for under existing U.S. law. There is, however, no defined standard on what kind of actions count as a specifically “domestic” type of terrorism.

Penalties for terrorism or terroristic threats can be very severe. They can range from imprisonment for any length of time, including life, to the death penalty. A conviction for an act of kidnapping related to terrorism can carry a penalty of imprisonment for life. Simple terroristic threats can lead to a term of imprisonment for 10 years.