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Bomb Threat Pranks Can Have Severe Consequences

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

A juvenile in Dauphin County, PA, was been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats—all because of a severely misguided “prank.” The story shows the disconnect that often exists between kids looking to have a laugh and the severity of Pennsylvania law.

Teen Calls in Bomb Threat to a Sheetz in Lower Paxton Township

An unnamed juvenile reported a bomb threat to a Sheetz on April 10, 2022. Apparently, the caller believed it would be amusing—both to themselves and authorities—to instigate the evacuation of the beloved Pennsylvanian convenience store.

Once law enforcement began their investigation, the juvenile caller came onto their radar. Once contacted by the police, the juvenile admitted to placing the call.

Making Terroristic Threats Can Lead to Felony Charges

Though news reports have stated that the juvenile was charged with a second-degree felony, PA Code § 2706(a)(2) Terroristic Threats grades the offense as a third-degree felony.

When someone calls in a false bomb threat, there are two possible legal outcomes:

  1. The threat does not result in the evacuation of the targeted location, in which case the terroristic threat is a first-degree misdemeanor
  2. The threat does result in the evacuation of the targeted location, in which case the threat qualifies as a third-degree misdemeanor

In the case of the juvenile caller, those in charge of the targeted Sheetz decided to evacuate the premises. This was the cautious decision but also a decision that upgraded the caller's criminal charges from a misdemeanor to a felony.

A Dumb Prank Turns Into a Life-Defining Criminal Case

Pennsylvania's Criminal Code explains that, for a conviction of a felony in the third degree, one can receive up to seven years in prison. They may also face significant monetary fines, but the cost of a felony conviction extends far beyond such legal sanctions.

The juvenile who admitted to threatening the Sheetz in Dauphin County may now:

  • Face imprisonment, juvenile detention, or another form of confinement
  • Have a lasting criminal record
  • Be unable to attend colleges
  • Face diminished job prospects
  • Carry the stigma of a third-degree felony for the foreseeable future

We must again acknowledge that these consequences would all stem from a serious but youthful prank.

If You Face a Charge of Terroristic Threats, You Need a Skilled Attorney

Pennsylvania's Terroristic Threats laws are comprehensive, encompassing everything from crimes of violence to ill-conceived prank calls. If you're facing a charge of making terroristic threats, you must do everything in your power to reduce those charges or gain a dismissal.

Hiring an experienced attorney should be your first priority. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team will work hard to preserve your future. Call The Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or tell us about your case online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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