With horrific incidents like last year’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, any threat conveyed toward an elementary school, middle school, or high school is taken very seriously. Teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement want to ensure students’ and teachers’ safety, even if it means a full investigation of joking interactions between students. The primary goal is to make sure no valid threat goes unnoticed.
With that in mind, a student who makes threats against a school can face dire consequences that may affect their ability to attend school now and in the future.
Threats of Violence and False Alarms
Illinois law classifies threats against schools as disorderly conduct. Charges are universal for juveniles and adults, and because of zero-tolerance policies, charges are always filed. This includes:
- Transmission of a false alarm that a bomb or dangerous explosive device is hidden on school property and would cause harm to people. This is charged as a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine between $3,000 and $10,000. A conviction from a false alarm threat may also require an offender to pay reimbursement for the cost of emergency response personnel.
- Transmission of threat of destruction of a school, or of death, violence, or bodily harm against people at the school or school event, regardless of whether the school is in session. This is charged as a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A skilled defense lawyer will meet with the charged minor and their family to determine why they made the alleged threat, including if they were being bullied or if they were upset with a teacher for various reasons. The lawyer will also recommend the child begin counseling so they can address the underlying issues and develop better communication with their family.
Along with a full assessment of all police reports, an attorney can speak with the investigating detective for their perspective and with the prosecutor to negotiate the best possible resolution. Most juveniles do not want to proceed to trial, since their friends and teachers might be compelled to testify against them, but if after examining all information, the attorney decides that a trial is the best way to prevail, they will forgo an offer to plead guilty.
Contact a Wheaton Disorderly Conduct Attorney
If your child has been charged with making threats toward their school, this is a critical juncture in their life. Entrust their case to Anderson Attorneys & Advisors, whose extensive experience in these matters can help protect their future. Call a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer at 630-877-5800 for a free 30-minute consultation.