Man in Custody after Making a Bomb Threat
On Monday, October 4, 2021, Orlando police detained a man after he called in a bomb threat. Around 8:00 p.m. that night, officers responded to the intersection of Orange Avenue and Central Avenue. The police found the man in his vehicle. He had contacted officers on three separate occasions on Sunday, October 3, 2021. The Orlando Fire Department’s bomb squad responded to the scene. Businesses in the area were cleared out, including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other establishments in and around the area. Authorities cleared the area around 11:15 p.m. that night, confirming that no bomb was in the suspicious vehicle.
Police have to take bomb threats seriously. People could lose their lives if the police do not respond accordingly. Police respond to bomb threat reports by closing off the location and waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. Not only does it disrupt the lives of innocent bystanders, but a fake bomb threat also wastes hours of work and tax dollars on searching a location with no threat.
A Fake Bomb Threat Is a Criminal Act
Florida Statute 790.163 states that it is unlawful for anyone to make a false report with the intent to deceive, mislead, or misinform any person concerning the placing or planting of a bomb, dynamite, or any other deadly explosive. Any person convicted of making a false bomb threat commits a felony of the second degree.
A fake bomb threat is not just a Florida crime. It is also considered a U.S. federal crime. Title 18 of the United States Code, section 844, subsection e, prohibits any individual from making a bomb threat through the mail, telephone, or any other instrument of interstate or foreign commerce.
3 Facts Prosecutors Must Prove in a Fake Bomb Threat Case
According to Florida law, there is a critical distinction between a false bomb report and a threat to bomb a location. Threatening to bomb is a separate crime from calling in a false bomb threat report. Once the case is determined to be a false bomb threat report, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The individual made a fake bomb threat report about the planting of a bomb
- The individual knew the bomb threat report was fake
- The individual made the report with intent to deceive, mislead, or misinform
The prosecutor must show that the individual knowingly made the communication. If the prosecutor can prove all three elements, then the person can be convicted of making a fake bomb threat.
Reporting a Fake Bomb Threat is a Second-Degree Felony
Violating Florida Statute 790.163 or 790.164 by calling in a fake bomb threat is a second-degree felony. A violation of these Florida statutes ranks at levels five and six under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. Penalties for this charge in Florida include:
- Fifteen years in prison
- A $10,000 fine
- Restitution pay to law enforcement for any costs or damages that occurred while responding to the false report
Double jeopardy prevents anyone from being charged twice for the same crime; however, the state of Florida and the U.S. federal government can convict someone for making the same fake bomb threat because the person has committed a crime against two different sovereign governments. The federal prosecutor may convict the individual for violating Title 18 of the United States Code, section 844, subsection e, which is punishable by ten years in prison.
Contact the Experienced Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm
If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you may experience anxiety over how to handle those charges. At The Umansky Law Firm, we provide our clients with excellent representation and counsel to help combat their stress and anxiety. Regardless of the type of charges you face, our Orlando criminal defense attorneys will help you navigate through the criminal justice process. We dedicate ourselves to providing trusted counsel, personalized strategies, and aggressive trial tactics that allow us to represent our clients’ best interests.
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