Experienced Juvenile Offense Lawyer
Greenwald Law Firm is an experienced NY school crimes attorney. You should take it seriously if your child is being investigated for or has already been charged with a crime including a threat of school violence, such as a terrorist threat or shooting. These cases are not viewed as innocent youthful mischief by prosecutors or courts. And the effects can change your child’s course in life. Contact Benjamin Greenwald, NY School Crimes Attorney, immediately when dealing with a school crime.
What Crimes Can My Child Punished For?
Although prosecutors have a lot of freedom in deciding what to charge your child with, instances involving threats to schools typically involve two felonies.
The first is violating MCL 750.235b by threatening to use a gun, an explosive, or another weapon on kids or faculty members on school property. The following must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution in order to prove the charge:
1. The defendant threatened to use a firearm, explosive, or other dangerous weapon to perform an act of violence verbally, through the use of an electronic device or system, or by other methods.
2. A student or staff member of the institution was the target of the threat.
3. The threatening act was to take place on school property or on school grounds.
4. The threat can be understood as potentially detrimental, unfavorable, or dangerous to human life.
5. The threat was deliberate.
This offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a maximum $1,000 fine. However, if the offender meant to follow through on the threat or made a clear move in the direction of doing so, the offence qualifies as a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Experienced Federal Defense Orange County Attorneys
Making a terrorist threat is a more serious crime according to MCL 750.543m. The prosecution must demonstrate the following beyond a reasonable doubt in order to prove that charge:
1. That the defendant made verbal, written, physical, or nonverbal contact with the receivers.
2. That the defendant threatened to commit terrorism during the course of the conversation. A threat must indicate a warning of danger or harm but need not be expressed in any particular terms. The threat also had to be genuine; it couldn’t have been just idle chatter, a joke, or a political remark. It must have been made under circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that others could take the threat seriously as an indication of malicious intent.
3. The prosecutor must demonstrate the following in order to establish that the defendant expressed a threat to carry out an act of terrorism:
a. That the defendant expressed a desire to commit a crime.
b. That the defendant knew or had reason to know that the crime would endanger human life, which means that it would be highly likely to result in death or serious injury, or that the crime entailed kidnapping.
c. That the defendant intended to use the offence to intimidate, terrify, or compel the civilian population, or to use intimidation to influence or change the behavior of the government or a particular unit of the government.
Whether the defendant was capable of committing the crime or had the intent to do so is irrelevant. The defendant’s threat to perpetrate the crime as an act of terrorism is all that matters.
Making a terrorist threat is a felony that carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a $20,000 fine.
Could My Child Face Adult Charges?
Yes, even if your child is under 18, you can be charged as an adult with making a threat to school violence. Who decides? The prosecutor may request that the child is tried as an adult in most cases. A judge will then decide whether or not to grant the request.
Your county’s prosecutor and the judge assigned for your case have a lot to do with it. Some prosecutors, especially those who are tough on crime, will request that juveniles be tried in adult court. However, some judges will agree to this almost every time. Others take a rehabilitation approach and only seek adult charges in the most serious criminal cases.
It all depends on the facts of each case. Did the threat seem particularly grave? Is there a history of criminal behavior in the past? These and other factors could influence whether or not a prosecutor will charge your child as an adult.
Contact the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald Today
The best way to protect your rights is to contact us immediately — as soon as you know that you are in trouble. This gives us a head start on gathering evidence.