Michigan School Threat Lawyer

Michigan School Threat Attorney | Farmington Hills School Threat Lawyer


MICHIGAN SCHOOL THREAT LAWYER

Any type of threat involving a Michigan school could potentially result in a felony charge under the Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act. While the Anti-Terrorism Act is not restricted to school threat situations, many of these cases do involve school threats and the person charged is usually a juvenile or young adult. Finding your child charged with Making A Terroristic Threat is a distressful situation that requires experienced legal counsel.

Under the Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act, making a terrorist threat can result in a felony charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison:

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750.543m Making terrorist threat or false report of terrorism.

  1. A person is guilty of making a terrorist threat or of making a false report of terrorism if the person does either of the following:
    • Threatens to commit an act of terrorism and communicates the threat to any other person.
    • Knowingly makes a false report of an act of terrorism and communicates the false report to any other person, knowing the report is false.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

What constitutes a threat ‘to commit an act of terrorism’? The statutory definition of terrorism is broad and can encompass a wide variety of activity:

  1. “Act of terrorism” means a willful and deliberate act that is all of the following:
  • An act that would be a violent felony under the laws of this state, whether or not committed in this state.
  • An act that the person knows or has reason to know is dangerous to human life.
  • An act that is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.

There are two key components to a Making a Terrorist Threat charge under Michigan law that are important to understand:

  • 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;
  • Merely threatening an ‘act of terrorism’ is a crime.

Media Attention & High Cash Bonds

While schools are usually very restrictive in divulging information about students, investigations regarding students who have allegedly made any type of school threat frequently make it into the media – often times before the investigation is complete. Media coverage can result in distorted or outright false ‘facts’ being broadcast to the public. It is important to have an attorney like Jeffrey Buehner – an attorney experienced in these types of cases- involved as early as possible to prevent a rush to judgement and to protect your son or daughter’s rights.

Once a person is charged with Making a Terroristic Threat, they have to be arraigned and bail is set. Most judges are conscientious and fair when it comes to setting bail amounts. That said, when it comes to school threats in particular, many magistrates and judges are setting high bail amounts. It is vital to have an attorney present at the arraignment or as soon thereafter as possible in order to argue for a reasonable bail. A fair bail amount can make the difference between freedom and incarceration during the pendency of the case.

Social Media / Internet Threats

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter: social media is everywhere. The pervasive nature of social media along with its ease of access, can create temptation for even the most thoughtful of people to make a comment or post a message that they might have not made had they thought it through. Juveniles don’t always have the introspection or life experience to make sound judgments when it comes to social media posts. That iPhone in your child’s hand may be conduit to a 20-year felony charge:

750.543p Internet or telecommunications or electronic device – prohibited use.

Sec. 543p.

  1. A person shall not use the internet or a telecommunications device or system or other electronic device or system so as to disrupt the functions of the public safety, educational, commercial, or governmental operations within this state with the intent to commit a willful and deliberate act that is all of the following:
    • An act that would be a felony under the laws of this state, whether or not committed in this state.
    • An act that the person knows or has reason to know is dangerous to human life as that term is defined in section 543b of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.543b.
    • An act that is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.
  2. A person who violates subsection (1) 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.

There are different types of threats – from the obvious school shooting threats, to the less obvious poorly-worded Facebook post that get misinterpreted. In the more obvious situations, it may be helpful to enlist the help of professionals such as counselors or psychiatrists to address underlying issues that led to the threatening behavior. Whereas in situation involving an oblique statement, we may able to explain the situation to the investigating police department without surrendering your son or daughter’s 5th Amendment right to remain silent. In those cases where a charge is issued when the proofs don’t substantiate a terroristic threat, it may be that a trial is necessary.

Our Michigan School Threat Lawyer Can Help

If you or your child are involved in investigation or have been charged regarding a terroristic threat situation, it is vital to have effective legal representation. These are very serious charges that require effective legal representation. Our Michigan criminal defense lawyers can help. Please call or email us to discuss your situation.