Can a student be charged with disorderly conduct by telling a teacher that if he says one more word he will punch him in the face?

UPDATED: Apr 30, 2011

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Can a student be charged with disorderly conduct by telling a teacher that if he says one more word he will punch him in the face?

A student at a local junior high told a teacher who made him upset, that if he said one more word he would punch him in the face. The teacher was told that this is a conditional threat, and would be harder to prosecute. No one else was around and did not hear the student making the threat. The local sheriff’s department stated that a citation could be written, but it would probably go nowhere.

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The student could be charged with assault and not just the lesser charge of disorderly conduct.  Assault is intentionally placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery without consent or legal privilege.  It does not matter that the threat is conditional or that no physical contact occurred. 

Assault is both criminal and civil which means that in addition to criminal charges against the student, the teacher could file a lawsuit  for assault (civil case) against the student and the student's parents seeking monetary damages (compensation).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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