Few incidents are as scary as a bomb threat. While you may think bomb threats are few and far between, they do happen. And they’re often in the last place you may anticipate.
A North Carolina man was recently arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and reckless endangerment. He placed explosive devices in a wooded area in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
While all suspects are innocent until proven guilty, that doesn’t mean that some very serious charges can’t stem from situations like the one in Pigeon Forge. North Carolina has strict laws related to bomb threats. Here’s what you need to know.
Weapon Charges in North Carolina
While you have the right to bear arms under the United States Constitution, state laws can still dictate what weapons you can and cannot own
For example, federal law makes it illegal for certain people to possess a firearm in the U.S.. This population includes those who have been convicted of specific felonies or misdemeanors. Also, anyone considered a fugitive from the law or illegally abusing substances, like depressants, stimulants, or narcotics, cannot own a gun.
In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone with a felony record to possess a firearm, thanks to the North Carolina Firearms Act of 1971. It is also illegal to own firearms that are prohibited, such as short-barreled shotguns/rifles or machine guns. It is also illegal to possess weapons such as explosives, exploding projectiles, and gas guns.
Penalties for Possessing Prohibited Weapons
Penalties for illegal firearm possession can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. All firearm charges can result in criminal convictions that follow you around for the rest of your life. It’s important to have a skilled attorney on your side to help you through the court case for the best outcome possible.
If caught with a prohibited weapon, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, though in certain cases it can be a felony. For misdemeanors, you may serve up to 12 months in jail. A felony can result in a minimum prison sentence of one year, with a maximum of 10 years. If you have previously been convicted of a crime, you can expect a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor, as well as a much harsher penalty. This goes especially if the previous crime was a felony.
Fines for misdemeanor possession of a prohibited firearm can be as much as $1,000 while felony convictions can result in fines as high as $10,000.
Reckless endangerment charges can also result from incidents related to bomb threats. In general, reckless endangerment can be named when a person engages deliberately in behavior that poses a substantial or serious risk to the injury of someone else – especially if they were aware that their actions were risky.
Reckless endangerment is a broad charge often used to cover a variety of conduct in cases where someone’s safety was at risk. In these cases, the court must be shown that the defendant had the intention to commit the act charged. They should also show that the defendant knew that these actions could endanger others.
It’s unnecessary for the prosecution to prove the defendant meant to cause harm through their actions, merely that they were reckless in their conduct and acted without regard to the risks.
Behavior that is commonly seen as reckless under the law includes:
- Reckless driving
- Medical abuse
- Shooting a gun into a crowd
- Removing a stop sign from an intersection
- Throwing rocks at passing cars from a bridge
Punishments for Reckless Endangerment
Reckless endangerment can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. How it is charged depends on the circumstances and facts of the case. In general, the involvement of weapons will end in a felony charge, as well as victims who are understood to be vulnerable, such as the elderly or children.
The penalties for reckless endangerment depend on the degree of felony or misdemeanor. The most serious felony offenses can land you behind bars for up to seven years. As the seriousness decreases, penalties decrease.
If you are charged with crimes in connection to a bomb threat, you need to understand your rights and what these charges can mean for your life going forward.