Hoax Bombs in Texas
Even though hoax bombs cannot cause the type of damage of a real bomb, they are dangerous for other reasons. Namely, hoax bombs can instill fear and panic in people and cause emergency officials to expend time, money and manpower investigating and dispelling a perceived threat. As a result, hoax bombs are illegal in certain circumstances.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 46.08, a person commits an offense if they knowingly manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, or possesses a hoax bomb with intent to use the hoax bomb to:
(1) make another believe that the hoax bomb is an explosive or incendiary device; or
(2) cause alarm or reaction of any type by an official of a public safety agency or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.
In other words, it’s illegal to make people believe a hoax bomb is real. Likewise, it is against the law to use a hoax bomb to cause alarm or reaction by members of public safety agencies, such as law enforcement, or a volunteer agency designed to deal with emergencies, such as the American Red Cross.
There are many ways to commit this offense. The most obvious is when a person knowingly manufactures a hoax bomb. Selling a hoax bomb, purchasing a hoax bomb, and transporting a hoax bomb with the intent of using it to make others believe it is a real bomb — even if the intent was never carried out — are also examples of ways a person could violate the statute. Finally, merely possessing a hoax bomb with the intent to either make others believe it is real or to cause a reaction of any kind by public safety and emergency officials, is illegal.
The punishment for Hoax Bombs in Texas
Using a hoax bomb is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and $4,000 in fines.
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