After every school shooting, hundreds of young people across the country are arrested for making violent threats against their local elementary or high school. Most of them think it’s just a mischievous prank or a way to get out of going to class. But threatening a school shooting in Florida is a felony. Students over 18 or younger students charged as adults can face years in prison along with steep fines and restitution costs.
If you or your child have been accused of making violent threats or false reports involving a school, the best course is to consult with an aggressive and experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney. For a free consultation with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer at the Rivas Law Firm, call 407-644-2466 or contact us online.
Written or Electronic School Shooting Threats in Florida
After the Uvalde shooting, school districts across Texas reported receiving threats. In Florida a 10-year-old 5th grader who sent a menacing text message was arrested in Lee County and charged with “Making a Written Threat to Conduct a Mass Shooting.” The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested an 18-year-old man who posted images of himself with what appeared to be assault gear. It turned out that the weapons were harmless “airsoft” guns, but it doesn’t matter. Under Florida’s Zero Tolerance law, school authorities are required by law to expel any student caught threatening violence or making false reports about violence and to refer the student for criminal prosecution.
There are separate statutes that cover school shooting threats and bomb scares. Florida Statute 836.10, prohibits anyone from making “written or electronic threats to kill, do bodily injury, or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism,” while under Statute 790.162 it is illegal to make a threat involving bombs. A conviction under either is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Cracking Down on Threats of School Violence
Because school shootings have become so common, law enforcement takes swift action in cases of threats of violence against schools. Since such threats can also be a federal crime, the FBI always partners with state and local law enforcement to respond to each threat. The police have to take each threat seriously because, according to the U.S. Secret Service, most school shooters somehow signal their intent before an attack. So when someone hints through social media or jokes to other students about doing some serious damage, the law has to assume it may be a real threat.
Defense Lawyers for School Shooting Threats
An aggressive defense starts with a thorough pre-trial investigation. The prosecution can make all kinds of assertions and assumption. Its up to the defense to examine all of the evidence and the manner in which was collected and interpreted. The state must prove that the accused did in fact author and intentionally send the threat – and that it was is actually a threat and not a figure of speech.
With enforcement and state attorneys prosecuting such cases so vigorously, it’s up to a criminal defense attorney to ensure that a suspect’s rights aren’t trampled in the process. There may be times when, under the glare of public scrutiny, a defendant is harshly dealt with and unfairly treated. The Orlando Juvenile Defense Attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm are ready to protect your rights. If you or someone you love has been arrested for making violent threats against a school, you need a tough and experienced lawyer to fight for the best possible outcome. Call 407-644-2466 or contact us online for a free consultation with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer at the Rivas Law Firm.