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Threat to “shoot up” school is a crime

Hopefully, everyone (or at least most people) know that you cannot threaten to attack a school. Numerous school shooting from Columbine to Sandy Hook have put school administrators and police on edge about the risk of another school shooting. In response, various states have passed laws prohibiting even threats against schools and making them crimes punishable as a felony, even if there were no overt acts or plans to carry out the threat.

One student is learning this lesson the hard way. Late last year, a 17-year old student left a note on the school’s office door that promised to attack the students and staff. The resulting investigation shut the school down for a day and resulted in his arrest.

The police reaction was swift. They quickly identified the student and coordinated the investigation with the school. The police ultimately concluded that he had no actual intention of following through on the threats. But, he nevertheless can be charged for making a death threat to the school.

Death threats are punishable offenses, even if you have no intention of carrying them out (for example, a joke). All that matters is if the person who hears the threat believes you which places them in a reasonable fear for their safety. This standard leaves a lot for interpretation, including the subjective feelings of the alleged victim. Thus, defending these charges is often a delicate task.

If you were arrested on a felony weapons charge, you should contact a lawyer at your earliest convenience. The current political climate has made it very unpopular even to have a whiff of criminal conduct, therefore, it is crucial that you address these allegations swiftly. An attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest and the best way to prepare a defense. You don’t need to fight these charges alone, in fact, you probably shouldn’t because you could risk your future.

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The Naperville, Illinois, law firm of Jim Ryan & Associates is available to serve people throughout the Chicago metropolitan area with a focus in DuPage County, the western suburbs and Naperville, in communities such Downers Grove, Wheaton, Carol Stream, Bloomingdale, Addison, Itasca, Warrenville, Woodridge, Oswego, Yorkville, Roselle, Aurora and Elmhurst. We also represent students and parents of students who attend any of the area schools and universities, including Naperville North High School, Naperville Central High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Waubonsie Valley and North Central College.

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