Can I be prosacuted for sending a text to a friend about what I would like to do to someone else?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be prosacuted for sending a text to a friend about what I would like to do to someone else?

I sent a private message to a friend about another person. I basically stated that I would like to hurt this person. I was blowing off steam and I would never do anything. The person that I was talking about hurting, found the other persons phone and read the message. They said that it was turned into the police. Can I get in trouble for blowing off steam? I didn’t even send it to the person that I was talking about.

Asked on June 23, 2018 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The police could credibly use this as grounds to investigate you and the situation (such as to see if you have in fact taken any steps towards hurting this person), but by itself, does not provide grounds to arrest or prosecute you. You did not make the threat *to* the target, so you did not committ assault (which can be done by words as well as by physical violence), utter a terroristic threat, or commit harassment--those offenses require that you direct the threat to the person being threatened, and not to some other 3rd party. Therefore, while the police may choose to investiate, absent any concrete steps by you towards harming the other person, you should not face charges.

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