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How the law defines supporting terrorists

Throughout American history, terrorist acts have seldom been carried out by one person acting alone. If Texas residents or others commit a terrorist act or help those who do, they may face significant penalties. For instance, harboring a terrorist could result in a fine and a prison term of 10 years if convicted. Those who provide material support to terrorists could be sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison and be fined.

However, if that support results in a person losing his or her life, a prison sentence could increase. The same is true for those who send aid to groups previously designated as terrorist organizations. Material support is defined in multiple ways. Those who provide training or personnel to a terrorist or terrorist group can be providing support according to the Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union has claimed that the definition is vague, saying that it makes it too easy for prosecutors to get a conviction without having to prove that a crime took place. Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 113B is a general prohibition against committing acts of terrorism against the United States. State law may be used in cases involving individuals who attempt to commit domestic terrorism, which are acts of terror committed on United States soil.

Individuals who are charged with federal crimes face the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison. An attorney may be able to argue that an individual did not intend to commit a terrorist act or provide support for terrorists. This may be done by asserting that a person was duped into committing a terrorist act by someone misrepresenting themselves online or in the physical world. In some cases, this may be enough for a favorable outcome.

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