Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Bomb Threats are No Laughing Matter

We have all heard of high school students who did not wish to take their final exams and laughingly called in bomb threats at their schools to prevent the tests from taking place. A bomb threat is no laughing matter. The perpetrator of a bomb threat will face major legal problems, and the outcome can be severe without the help and advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Recently, the FBI investigated a bomb threat directed toward 12 Massachusetts schools. The threats were made over the phone and affected schools in 15 communities, including Boston. High school students are not the only ones trying to avoid taking a final exam by pulling this prank. A Harvard University student allegedly sent an email that stated bombs were placed throughout the Cambridge campus. Later, the FBI arrested him for the crime. According to a federal bomb threat statute, a federal agent can charge any person who calls or emails a bomb threat. The punishment can be up to 10 years in prison.

Whether a high school or college student, individuals who make bomb threats can face serious trouble. In some cases, a conviction for making a school bomb threat can get a student's driver’s license revoked or get him or her expelled from school. Their parents can be liable for the student's actions in court, as well. Individuals under 18 can be tried as adults in some cases.

Making a bomb threat in Massachusetts can have harsh consequences. A conviction is punishable by up to 20-years in prison and may include a fine of up to $50,000. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 14 states:

"(c) Whoever willfully communicates or causes to be communicated such a threat thereby causing either the evacuation or serious disruption of a school, school related event, school transportation, or a dwelling, building, place of assembly, facility or public transport, or an aircraft, ship or common carrier, or willfully communicates or causes serious public inconvenience or alarm, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 3 years nor more than 20 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than 6 months nor more than 21/2 years, or by fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $50,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. (d) The court shall, after conviction, conduct a hearing to ascertain the extent of costs incurred, damages and financial loss suffered by an individual, public or private entity and the amount of property damage caused as a result of the defendant's crime. A person found guilty of violating this section shall, in all cases, in addition to any other punishment, be ordered to make restitution to the individual, public or private entity for any costs incurred, damages and financial loss sustained as a result of the commission of the crime. Restitution shall be imposed in addition to incarceration or fine, and not in lieu thereof, however, the court shall consider the defendant's present and future ability to pay in its determinations regarding a fine. In determining the amount, time and method of payment of restitution, the court shall consider the financial resources of the defendant and the burden restitution will impose on the defendant."

If you or your child is accused of making a bomb threat, the consequences may be serious and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that can help your case. He can explain your options and provide personalized legal services in your bomb threat case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.