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Maryland Laws Against Threats of Mass Violence


School shootings and other public acts of mass violence can happen across the United States. When someone commits an act of mass of violence — or even just threatens to do so — it puts a severe strain on government resources.

Law enforcement officers must arrive at the scene and mitigate the danger. Paramedics have to treat injuries and rush victims to the nearest hospital. Other first responders may need to chip in as well, depending on the nature and extent of the situation.

Recognizing the burden of threats of mass violence, the State of Maryland enacted laws against making such threats. If a person violates these legal requirements, they can face serious penalties under the law, including imprisonment and criminal fines.

What is the Definition of a Threat of Mass Violence?

Under Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-1001, it is unlawful to threaten to commit a crime of violence that places other people in danger of bodily injury or death. Section 3-1001 applies to oral threats as well as written communications and electronic messages.

That being said, the term “threat of mass violence” only applies to groups of at least five people. Whether or not the perpetrator actually carries out the act, the term threat of mass violence applies if at least five people:

  • Have a reasonable fear that a crime will occur;
  • Are forced to evacuate a dwelling, storehouse or public place;
  • Must move to a designated area within a dwelling, storehouse or public place; or
  • Are compelled to stay in a designated safe area within a dwelling, storehouse or public place.

What is the Legal Venue for Threats of Mass Violence?

Under Section 3-1001, if a person commits a threat of mass violence in Maryland, then the indictment, prosecution, trial and conviction can occur:

  • In the county where the threat was received;
  • In the county where the threat was made; or
  • In the county where the consequences of the threat happened.

What are the Penalties for Committing a Threat of Mass Violence?

If a person commits a threat of mass violence in Maryland, it is a misdemeanor offense. Upon conviction, the offender can face up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in criminal fines.

Furthermore, a conviction for a threat of mass violence carries other financial costs. The convicted offender must reimburse any law enforcement agencies for expenses related to the threat of mass violence. Though a Maryland court has the discretion to remove the reimbursement requirement in the interest of fairness.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are facing criminal charges for committing a threat of mass violence in Maryland, it can be distinctly helpful to contact a trusted criminal defense attorney.  The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, understand how to fight back against a variety of criminal charges, such as threats of mass violence. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.



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