There were more than 1,670 bomb threats made in the United States in 2015. While only a small percentage of these threats actually resulted in the detonation or explosion of a bomb, federal and state law enforcement officials were still tasked with investigating each and every threat. These investigations eat up valuable time, resources, and energy and take law enforcement officials away from protecting against real dangers. If you make a bomb threat in Los Angeles you can face significant criminal consequences for your conduct.
Making False Bomb Threats
Falsely reporting a bomb threat is a misdemeanor offense in California. The crime is defined in Penal Code Section 148.1 PC to include any of the following behaviors:
- Reporting to a peace officer, media outlet, department of justice official, or transportation official that a bomb has been or will be placed in a public or private place, knowing that the report is false;
- Maliciously informing any person that a bomb has been or will be placed in any public or private place, knowing that the report is false; and
- Maliciously giving, mailing, sending, or causing to be sent any false bomb to another person, or placing a false bomb in a public or private place, with the intent to cause another to fear for their safety or the safety of others.
In simpler terms, there are two main ways to violate the California bomb threats law. The first is to falsely report a bomb threat to a person or group specifically mentioned in Penal Code 148.1 PC. The second is to maliciously send or report a false bomb threat to another person with the intent to scare them. Intent is crucial to the second definition of the crime. Prosecutors trying a case for making a false bomb threat must prove that the defendant intended to frighten or scare another person.
Making Bomb Threats in Los Angeles
Bomb threats can be made in a variety of different ways. This includes:
- Calling police or media outlets;
- Making a false report in person at an airport or bus depot;
- Sending a false report to the Department of Justice or District Attorney in the mail;
- Texting a false report of an explosive to an airline, train, or bus employee; or
- E-mailing a bomb threat to a former spouse with the intent to scare them.
Criminal Penalties for Making Bomb Threats in Los Angeles
It is a misdemeanor offense to make a false bomb threat in California. A conviction for making a false bomb threat carries a maximum penalty of one year in a Los Angeles County jail, $1,000 in criminal fines, summary probation, community service, and mandatory counseling.
In addition to jail time and fines, a defendant may also be the subject of a California restraining order. If a judge believes that a bomb threat was made maliciously and to intimidate a specific person (or group of people), they may issue a restraining order. This restraining order will require the defendant to refrain from contacting the victim(s) and maintain a certain distance from them, their home, and place of work.
Collateral Consequences of Making False Bomb Threats
Once you are convicted for making false bomb threats you will be burdened with a criminal record. This record may stay with you for the rest of your life. You will experience certain social and civil collateral consequences s a direct result of your criminal record. These collateral consequences will make it difficult to find a job, rent or buy a home, secure financial loans, and even participate in beneficial government welfare programs. In some cases, your right to own a firearm or have the custody of your own children may be revoked. You can avoid these (and other) collateral consequences by hiring an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to fight the criminal charges against you.
Defenses to Criminal Charges for Making a False Bomb Threat
When you are charged with a crime in Los Angeles you will have the opportunity to assert any defense that can help to explain or justify your alleged behavior. Hiring an attorney to make these arguments on your behalf will increase the chances of successfully asserting your defense. When defenses are successful, prosecutors will have a more difficult time proving their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. In these situations, they will be more willing to negotiate or dismiss the charges against you. Defenses that may be helpful in a case for making false bomb threats include:
- False accusation;
- Mistaken identity; and/or
- Lack of required intent.
Fighting Criminal Charges in Los Angeles
Are you or someone you know facing criminal charges for making a bomb threat in Los Angeles? Contact The Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. We understand that a criminal conviction would be devastating for you and your family and will fight to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your alleged conduct, determine the best defense, and answer your questions.