Knowingly making a false bomb threat in Nevada is a felony. A conviction may carry years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines as well as a marred criminal record. But an experienced Nevada criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate or litigate a favorable resolution.
This article outlines the Nevada offense of making bomb threats. Scroll down to read about the law, potential punishments, and common defenses.
The legal definition of "bomb threats" in Las Vegas, Nevada, makes it a crime for someone willfully to convey false information about an explosive device meant to injure people or destroy property. A typical bomb threat scenario is someone calling the Clark County Court and claiming there is an explosive inside.
Making a false bomb threat is illegal in Nevada no matter how the threat is transmitted such as through:
- written note
- radio broadcast
- Social media posts, such as Facebook or Twitter
- any other means of communication
Furthermore, a suspect faces prosecution under Las Vegas bomb threat laws for making false threats about not only explosives but also "spring traps" or similarly dangerous mechanisms. For most other types of threats, the D.A. may instead bring charges under NRS 202.448 -- the Nevada crime of terrorist threats.
Note that Nevada takes a broad view of what constitutes a bomb threat. In 2009 the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who angrily told a credit union loan officer, "I'm going to blow up your car" after the loan officer asked him to show proof of his income. That the man claimed he was only joking did not matter to the court. (Hodson v. State, WL 1424492 (2009).)
There are many different defenses available to fight a charge of making false bomb threats in Las Vegas. The following are some common strategies a defense attorney may explore using depending on the facts of the case:
- Honest mistake: A charge of violating NRS 202.840 applies only when the defendant "willfully" or "maliciously" conveyed bomb threat information knowing it to be false. If a defense attorney can show that the defendant honestly believed the information he/she conveyed was truthful, he/she should not be prosecuted under this law.
- Lack of evidence: The D.A. bears the burden to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before the defendant may be convicted. If a defense attorney can demonstrate to the court that the state's evidence is unreliable and insufficient, criminal charges cannot stand.
- Police misconduct: Police may make arrests and conduct searches only if there is probable cause to believe a crime has occurred. If the police lacked probable cause, then a defense attorney can file a Nevada motion to suppress asking the judge to throw out any evidence the police uncovered from their illegal activity. If the judge grants the Nevada motion to suppress, the entire case may be dropped for lack of proof.
The Las Vegas crime of bomb threats is punished as a category B felony in Nevada. The punishment for a category B felony in Nevada includes a sentence of:
- 1 - 6 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Note that the punishment for the Nevada crime of terrorist threats may potentially carry a stiffer penalty, including:
- 2 - 20 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Arrested? There is help . . . .
If you have been accused of making a false bomb threat under NRS 202.840, contact Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. Their aim is to keep your criminal record clean by getting your case reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed completely. And if necessary they will take your case to trial to fight for a "not guilty" verdict.