On April 13, 2014, a routine airport trip for a San Francisco 49ers linebacker took a drastic turn. According to ABC News, Aldon Smith was arrested after allegedly making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
According to LAX police, Smith was randomly chosen for secondary screening by TSA agents while going through Terminal 1. At that moment he became belligerent, arguing with security and refusing to cooperate. While in the heated exchange with TSA, the NFL player then allegedly made a threat that he was in possession of a bomb. 2
A video of the incident shows an officer bringing a police dog into the gate while Smith was being taken away in handcuffs.3 Following the situation, he was immediately taken into custody by airport police and booked for false report of a bomb threat.
Making a false report of a bomb threat clearly is a difficult situation for all parties involved, and can be a major drain on police resources. Violating California Penal Code Section 148.1 is a very serious offense, and you will need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you are accused of this crime.
False Report of a Bomb Threat (California Penal Code Section 148.1)
California PC 148.1 makes it illegal to knowingly make a false report that a bomb or other explosive has been or will be placed in any public or private place. The law also defines who it is illegal to make this threat to:
- A peace officer (any police, sheriff, port police officer, etc.);4
- An employee of a fire department;
- A district attorney;
- A newspaper or radio station;
- A television station;
- A district attorney;
- An employee of the Department of Justice;
- An employees of an airline or airport;
- An employee of a railroad or busline;
- An employee of a telephone company; and
- Occupants of a building.5
The key here is that you knowingly knew that the bomb threat was false. Below are some of the punishments for violating California Penal Code Section 148.1.
Consequences of Making a False Bomb Threat
The severity of your charges for making a false bomb threat typically depends on the severity of the threat and your criminal history. Prosecutors may charge you with a felony if your alleged threat could have had serious consequences. If it was a relatively “harmless” threat, such as the case of Aldon Smith, you may face only a misdemeanor charge.5
Punishment for Making a False Bomb Threat
A more severe bomb threat may lead to a felony charge under California Penal Code Section 422. This addresses terrorist threats. If you are convicted under Section 422, you may face up to three years in state prison, as well as a “strike” on your criminal record.
To reach the best possible legal outcome, your defense attorney may use any of the following defenses:
- Lack of evidence;
- Freedom of speech;
- Mistaken identity;
- The threat was vague or ambiguous; or
- Your threat did not cause a reasonable fear for safety
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing allegations of making a false bomb threat, you shold seek help from an experienced law firm who can establish a winning defense for your situation. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients accused of violating California Penal Code Section 148.1 and 422 for over 30 years. We will get through this together.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our attorneys is always available to help you regardless of where you live or work.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
2. [ http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/sports&id=9502475]↩
3. [ http://www.ninersnation.com/2014/4/13/5611738/aldon-smith-booked-on-charge-of-false-report-of-a-bomb-threat]↩
5. [ http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/148.1.html]↩