In May of this year, a student at West Virginia University was arrested for threatening to enact a shooting spree at the school. According to CNN, the person privy to these comments alerted the police, who then arrested the student after an investigation led them to believe that the threat was legitimate. The student was incarcerated despite the fact that no guns or other weapons were found in his dorm room or on his person.
This highlights the seriousness of making terrorist threats in West Virginia. Preserving public safety is of the utmost importance to law enforcement, and laws governing terrorist threats aim to uphold public safety. According to the West Virginia Legislature, these threats are covered by Article 6. Crimes Against the Peace. In this case, a terrorist act is defined as any act that is likely to inflict harm upon another person, damage another person’s property, or cause harm to the surrounding environment.
These threats also have a specific purpose. The person responsible for making such threats aims to intimidate or otherwise coerce a person or entity. They can also be afforded as a means of retaliation for some past slight suffered by the responsible party. Penalties for such crimes are steep, often involving exorbitant fines and jail time. Jail terms can be up to three years depending on the severity of the threat.
Additionally, even terroristic hoaxes are still subject to severe punishment. This is a felony charge that entails fines ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, with a maximum jail term of up to five years. The person convicted may also need to pay restitution for any economic damages suffered by the victims. Being accused of making terroristic threats is a very serious matter, one that requires the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney.