A bomb threat is a warning to detonate an explosive or incendiary device at a particular place, to cause property damage, death, or injuries, whether or not such a device actually exists.
Sadly, it happens every day, a bomb threat or shooting threat or some other declaration of violence is anonymously conveyed to a High school or College campus. The School is put on alert, subsequently evacuated and law enforcement spends countless hours and expense securing the area and apprehending the perpetrators.
Technology has made calling in a bomb threat easy
Social media, disposable cellphones and text messaging have provided an easy means for students and others to “call in” these types of threats. Sometimes, an anonymous note is sent in to the school or left in a public area. An increase in these threats typically occurs towards the end of a school semester when students feel stress during final exam periods. Because many of the perpetrators are underage they often fail to realize the seriousness of their actions.
Bomb threats are becoming an epidemic in public schools and colleges
Make no mistake, this is a very big problem and law enforcement is taking it very seriously. For example, conducting an internet search using the words “school bomb threat” in the Google news feed will reveal dozens called in everyday across the nation. With the increased focus on fighting terrorism, most school districts and college campuses safety protocol mandates that all buildings are immediately evacuated until law enforcement can conduct a secure search. Thus, all activity stops and does not resume until the buildings are cleared by the authorities.
In New York State, conveying such a threat to a school will result in the accused being charged with N.Y. Penal Law § 490.20 Making A Terroristic Threat, a Class D Felony, carrying a sentence of 2-7 years’ incarceration in the State Prison system. Even if the perpetrator is underage and is fortunate enough to be adjudicated a Youthful Offender the sentence is 1 1/3 – 4 years in the State prison system.
Also, leaving a hoax device in a public school building will result in Felony Charges. That is, placing a false bomb, or fake hazardous substance on school grounds that by its design, construction, or characteristic gives the appearance of a bomb, or hazardous substance will result in the perpetrator being charged with New York State Penal Law S 240.62 Placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, a class D felony.
If you or a family member are charged with making a bomb threat or believe you may be the subject of a criminal investigation, you need competent legal representation to protect your rights, answer your questions, and obtain the best possible outcome. Call my office today to schedule a free, in person confidential consultation.