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North Carolina Criminal Law 14-277.5(b): Making a False Report Concerning Mass Violence on Educational Property

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Under North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-277.5(b), a Defendant violates this section if he or she makes a false report (knowing the report is false) concerning an act of mass violence on educational property.

The offense is generally characterized as a type of Communicating Threats. As a relatively new criminal law in North Carolina, the law applies to offenses that take place December 1, 2018 or later.

To prove the crime of making a false report concerning a threat of mass violence on educational property, the State must be able to establish the following prima facie elements Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

  1. That the Defendant report any means of communication to any person and/or group of persons that (describe threat of a mass violence) was going to occur at (describe place)
  2. That (describe place) was an educational property and/or the location of a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school, AND
  3. That this report of mass violence was false and the defendant knew or had reason to know it was false

“Mass violence” is defined as physical injury that a reasonable person would conclude could lead to permanent injury (including mental and emotional injury) or death to two or more people

“Educational property” is defined as any school building or bus, school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education or school board of trustees, or directors for the administration of any school. G.S. 14-269.2.

“School” is defined as a public or private school, community college, college, or university. G.S. 14-269.2.

A defendant who is found guilty of this section may also be ordered to pay restitution in the amount of costs and consequential damages.

In addition to requiring a secured bond, a judge may order the defendant to stay away from the educational property that he or she threatened and may order the defendant to stay away from any other educational property unless the defendant has permission to be on the property.

A defendant is eligible for a conditional discharge under the statute if: (1) a defendant must not have previously been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation and (2) must have committed the offense before he or she was 20 years old.

2. Examples

Defendant is being bullied at school. Defendant posts on Facebook that he will “blow up the school next week if one more person bullies me.” Defendant has no intention of doing this and knows it is false. Defendant just wants to scare people. A student at the school sees the post and reports it to police. Defendant can be charged with making a false report of mass violence on educational property.

Defendant has failed to study for his final exam. Defendant calls in a threat that he saw a person planting explosives near the building where he is to take his exam. The school shuts down campus for two days and cancels all exams. Defendant can be charged with making a false report of mass violence on educational property.

Defendant’s girlfriend breaks up with him. Defendant is angry and wants to get back at her. Defendant knows that girlfriend is in psychology class at 9 am. Defendant makes a call that there is an active shooter in the psychology building. Students are locked in their classrooms for hours until the police sweep the building. Defendant can be charged with making a false report of mass violence on educational property.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. What is an Indictment?
  2. Campus Police and Criminal Charges in North Carolina
  3. Communicating Threats
  4. Interfering with Emergency Communication in North Carolina
  5. What is a Criminal Summons
  6. N.C.G.S. Chapter 14-277.5 Making a False Report Concerning Mass Violence on Educational Property
4. Defenses to Making a False Report of Mass Violence (Educational Property)

The defendant has a viable defense if they can prove that they did not know or did not have reason to know the report was false. Additionally, the Defendant can prove that the report of mass violence was not made in reference to educational property.

Other criminal charges may apply, including communicating threats and interfering with Emergency Communications.

5. Penalties

Making a False Report of Mass Violence on Education Property is a Class H felony punishable by a maximum period of incarceration of 39 months in a state correctional facility.

6. Criminal Defense for Communicating Threats and False Reports

If you have been charged with felony making a false report of mass violence on educational property, you need to consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. The fear and threat of mass shootings is rampant in our society these days.

A felony charge of this magnitude can seriously hinder your future prospects. Such matters deserve careful consideration, guidance, and legal representation.

Call our Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers now: 704-342-4357

The legal consultation for criminal charges is free of charge.

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