False Threat of Terrorism, Maximum Penalty 20 Years in Prison
In 2002, the state of Michigan passed a statue to cover criminal behavior that deal with false threats or reports of terrorism. MCL 750.543m, makes a false threat of terrorism a serious felony charge:
- A person is guilty of making a terrorist threat or of making a false report of terrorism if the person: threatens to commit an act of terrorism and communicates the threat to any other person or, knowingly makes a false report of an act of terrorism and communicates the false report to any other person, knowing the report is false.
- A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both.
- It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the defendant did not have the intent or capability of committing the act of terrorism.
Examples of False Threat of Terrorism Cases
The vast majority of people we see getting charged for these types of crimes are young male offenders (age 17 to 24) or juveniles (under age 17) . The vast majority of these cases involve inappropriate communications. These communications take place online using social media sites as facebook and twitter:
- Internets post on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter which contain threats to shoot individuals at the er place of employment (fast food chain).
- Juveniles (age 14) overheard at lunchtime planning an event to shoot other students at school that are not wearing a red shirt.
Terrorism and Swatting:
Wikipedia defines swatting as deceiving an emergency service into sending a law enforcement or SWAT team to another person’s address. The reason these emergency services show up is because of a false report of a bomb threat, hostage situation or murder. According to Wikipedia, swatting is a form of terrorism designed to cause disruption to society. An example of these disruptions is wasted police resources. Many times, those who are facing these criminal charges claim it was a hoax. That is not a defense to the crime! Another point that needs to be made is that many times law enforcement officers trace the I.P. addresses of the message and use this to figure out who sent the message. If you are using a computer to commit a crime is going to leave a trail that will lead law enforcement officers to you!