Nowadays, many young people feel like they can hide behind their computer screens or phones and say anything they want to without consequences. In Virginia, making threats can result in criminal charges, even if the person making the threats did not act on them.
Under Virginia law, issuing a threat of harm in writing or via electronic message is classified as a Class 6 felony and could result in one to five years in prison. Terroristic threats are also a Class 6 felony but can result in a lengthier jail sentence. The prosecutor will have to establish that it was a threat to kill and/or do bodily injury to a person or his or her family member. The prosecutor will also have to show that the threat placed the intended victim in reasonable apprehension of harm to themselves or their family member.
It is also illegal under state law to threaten to kill or do bodily injury a school employee on school grounds, on a school bus, or during a school-sponsored activity. Any oral threats of this nature can result in Class 1 misdemeanor charges.
Bullying or any threat of violence is taken seriously by Virginia police and could result in criminal charges. If your child has been charged with making threats, it can be beneficial for your family to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The goal will be to prove that your child did not make the threats that he or she was accused of making or that the child’s threats could not cause the other party to actually fear for their or their family’s safety.