Terrorist Threats Law

A new law signed into effect by Governor Scott Walker on March 30 might soon get put to use.  The law, which essentially expands the breadth of the current bomb scares law, is titled “Terrorist Threats” and is codified in § 947.019 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The statute states that whoever threatens to cause death or bodily harm to any person or to damage any person’s property is guilty of a Class I felony under the following circumstances:

  1. The actor intends to prevent the occupation of or cause the evacuation of a building, dwelling, school premises, vehicle, facility of public transportation, or place of public assembly or any room within a building, dwelling, or school premises.
  2. The actor intends to cause public inconvenience.
  3. The actor intends to cause public panic or fear.
  4. The actor intends to cause an interruption or impairment of governmental operations or public communication, of transportation, or of a supply of water, gas, or other public service.
  5. The actor creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of causing a result described above and is aware of that risk.

Further, if the actor’s actions contribute to anyone’s death is guilty of a Class G felony.

A Class I felony carries up to 3 ½ years in prison and a Class G felony carries up to 10 years in prison.

Terrorist Threats different from Bomb Scares statute

The Bomb Scares statute, codified in § 947.015 of the Wisconsin Statutes, focuses on the threat or false information concerning an attempt being made to destroy property by means of explosives.  The Terrorist Threats law expands beyond just property damage and includes any threat to cause death or bodily harm.  The legislature likely wanted to expand the scope beyond just property damage caused by explosive devices.  The Terrorist Threats law is not limited to bombs; rather, any threat that would cause the evacuation or prevent the occupation of a building or event is covered under the law.

13 Year Old Hartford boy facing charges

A 13 year old Hartford boy may be facing charges of Terrorist Threats after surveillance cameras saw him put a note in a window at his middle school earlier this week.  Apparently, the boy confessed to the crime.  There are numerous issues at play, such as the fact that the boy is a juvenile, he may have been questioned without an attorney or without his parents’ knowledge, and whether there were co-actors in the case.  The case is certainly at the preliminary stages, but this may be the first known case charged under the new Terrorist Threats law.  If you or someone you know is facing charges under this new law or under the Bomb Scares law, you need a criminal defense attorney now.  Attorney Meyer and Attorney Van Severen have handled these types of cases in the past and understand what is required to give you the best defense.  Contact us today!