School Shooting Threats

Michigan School Violence Lawyer Paul J. Tafelski

School violence is all over the news. Just like the recent Michigan school shooting at Oxford High School, it’s always horrible to hear news about children being victims of such crimes. No matter what your views are on guns and gun control, you cannot deny that these shootings are happening at schools across the United States and that as a parent, there are few scenarios more terrifying than hearing about a child’s death or worse your child being a victim.

You also cannot deny that adolescents often speak without thinking and can say inappropriate things as jokes or amid emotional outbursts. When a child says “I’m going to kill you” or “I’d love to shoot up this school,” he or she can be charged with making a terroristic threat which is a violation of MCL 750.543m. In Michigan, dozens upon dozens of children have been prosecuted this year alone for making a terroristic threat at school. This is a very serious felony and the charges are taken very seriously by schools, law enforcement, and the courts since past school shooters demonstrated warning signs that were ignored by officials. Parents are concerned and local officials at all levels in other places have taken note that negative attention and responsibility will come back to them if they do not take every accusation seriously and a child ends up committing a heinous crime later. As a result, many kids who would not have been prosecuted in the past are being charged with very serious crimes and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. School districts often move to expel children even if they have never posed a previous threat or problem at school. This is a totally separate legal action from criminal prosecution.

Our firm recently handled a case in Oakland County where the child’s school sought expulsion and criminal prosecution when the child wrote on a bathroom wall, “Don’t come to school on Tuesday.” No other aggravating factors. In Macomb County, we recently defended a child facing a 20-year felony who allegedly told one other student that “I would like to be a school shooter.” The only other evidence was a photo of a single gun on his phone. There was no actual threat. These cases get prosecuted and parents often think they are dealing with reasonable people and their kids are good and that they will be able to show up and explain the situation and it will all be dealt with. Those days are gone. The system is trying to protect the public and ITSELF. Unfortunately, you are taking a very serious risk if your child is charged with Making a Terroristic Threat in Michigan, under MCL 750.543m, or under investigation, and you cooperate with investigators and trust that elected officials are going to do what’s best for your child. 

If your child is involved in a case of making a shooting threat or is being accused of making violent threats, don’t leave it all to chance. This can make or break your child’s future. At times like this, you need an experienced school threat attorney by your side to make sure that you and your child can navigate the complexities of the justice system carefully and with skilled legal guidance. 

At Michigan Defense Law, we take these cases seriously. Our team of experienced attorneys has the legal knowledge that can help you go through these times with minimal impact.

For more information about what to do next, schedule an appointment or call us today at (248) 451 2200.

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If your child is involved in a case of making a shooting threat or is being accused of making violent threats, don’t leave it all to chance. This can make or break your child’s future. At times like this, you need an experienced school threat attorney by your side to make sure that you and your child can navigate the complexities of the justice system carefully and with skilled legal guidance. 

At Michigan Defense Law, we take these cases seriously. Our team of experienced attorneys has the legal knowledge that can help you go through these times with minimal impact.

For more information about what to do next, schedule an appointment or call us today at (248) 451 2200.

I’ve used Paul for a BAIID appeal hearing multiple times. He has been very professional is very knowledgeable in the laws applicable. I’ve used other attorneys in the past but have never had the satisfaction as I’ve had with Paul. Most attorneys will over promise but be hard to reach after the contract is signed. Despite the time of day or the day of the week, he has always immediately responded to me. In addition, his assistant Karen has always been incredibly helpful in making calls to the SOS on my behalf. Although he may not have all the answers immediately, his immediate reply has reassured me numerous times. Just knowing that he’s reachable allayed much of my anxiety. In the end, he went above and beyond to make sure everything worked out. I would gladly recommend him to friends and family without hesitation.

- A DUI Client

How a Joke Can Be Prosecuted as a Threat in the US

Every threatening statement, however vague, can be prosecuted in the US. Terroristic threats are charged as felonies, and when an individual is convicted of this charge, he or she can face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Prosecution lawyers are routinely seeking immediate incarceration through requests to detain the child in a juvenile detention facility while the case is pending. This is to provide safety to the public on the rare occasion when the accused poses an actual threat and, most often, to send a message to the public and other kids that the local prosecutor is “tough on crime”. They have no problem using your child as a pawn to look tough or appease a mob mentality.  It is very important you have representation prior to the first court appearance. In Michigan, individuals age 18 and over are tried as adults. In certain cases, namely those in which the minor’s charge would be a felony if an adult had committed it, it is possible for the court to try an individual as young as 14 as an adult.

As parents, it’s only understandable to always want what’s best for your children. Being accused and charged with making a shooting threat or any violent threat can make a huge impact on their future. This is why it’s very important to have the guidance of an experienced attorney to make sure you’re navigating the juvenile justice system well.

For a consultation with a skilled criminal defense, call us today (248) 451-2200.

I didn’t know much about the entire legal process so Paul was a great Lawyer for me. He took the time to explain everything without making me feel dumb. He fought for me and got me a great outcome for my case. He is a great guy that eased my stress about my case and I would recommend him to anyone. Thank you Paul!

- Anonymous

Consequences for Students who Make School Shooting Threats

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Even when a minor does not face the adult consequences for being found guilty of making a terroristic threat, he or she can be adjudicated in juvenile court and required to comply with the penalties the court deems to be appropriate. In juvenile court, the court has greater discretion to determine an appropriate disposition for a minor offender and may require a juvenile to:

I didn’t know much about the entire legal process so Paul was a great Lawyer for me. He took the time to explain everything without making me feel dumb. He fought for me and got me a great outcome for my case. He is a great guy that eased my stress about my case and I would recommend him to anyone. Thank you Paul!

- Anonymous

What Should Parents Do When A Child Is Making a Violent Threat?

A child who makes a serious threat to others should not be ignored. Parents should speak with the child immediately in these kinds of situations, especially if the child is deemed at risk. Parents must evaluate any serious threat made in light of the child’s personality, past behavior, and current stressors. If the child’s parents refuse to help in an emergency, or if the child is not responding to immediate needs, the police may need to be contacted or the child taken to the nearest emergency room. Children who make serious threats should be closely monitored while they wait for professional intervention. 

In the US, there is a lot of help available for children that display disturbing or violent behavior. As parents, it is part of our duty to make sure that our children are growing well in a safe environment. Making idle threats can be dangerous and can make a huge impact on a child’s life.

If you need more information about getting the help of an experienced advisor, contact us today at (248) 451 2200.

Getting Legal Advice If Your Child is Accused of Making a Violent Threat

The short answer to this question is to get experienced professionals involved immediately. Attorneys unfamiliar with the nature of these cases may be content with thinking that cooperation with police is appropriate where the parents don’t believe their child is an actual threat. They feel investigators will realize this and everything will be okay if they cooperate. Often, law enforcement personnel at the first level are the most reasonable. They will take a report, review it, and pass it on. However, the danger in these cases lies in the politics of the issue. Every law enforcement person, school official, prosecutor, and the judge wants to be seen as no-nonsense on this issue in order to gain good press. As a result, many kids who pose no real threat but may have blurted out one stupid sentence are trapped in a very serious situation where the system will sacrifice them for the “greater good” and political ambition.

Law enforcement will likely search your child’s person, electronics, or home. Do not consent to a search unless the officer has a valid search warrant. As soon as you suspect there may be a problem, seek legal counsel.  Call Michigan Defense Law or another experienced school threat attorney.  There may be innocent things on their phone or computer that will be perceived as evidence against them in these cases or could be used to prosecute other charges such as child pornography. In some cases, other kids gain access to social media and make threatening posts as if they are your child.  Unfortunately, police are not trying to clear your child or allegations as much as they are looking for circumstantial evidence such as unusual web searches, photos that show a fascination with guns or violence, youtube search histories, etc. Deep searches of the phones of many innocent people will reveal material that could be used against them in a prosecution. There may be times when cooperation is appropriate but you should not make panicked decisions on these very important issues. There is always a policy to be followed and having a skilled defense will help you understand your next steps more clearly. 

Instruct your child to avoid interacting with law enforcement beyond polite acknowledgment and discuss his or her rights while in custody and while being interrogated, which include the right to have an attorney present during questioning. It is best to have representation as early as possible in one of these cases. They are very tricky because of politics and every case is different. Making these decisions when you have are inexperienced in all of the factors is risky. If you are not sure of your child’s civil rights, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to educate yourself on this topic. Contact a juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible to start working on your child’s defense strategy. He or she will advise you about how to proceed with the case.

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I wanted to say thank you for representing me this week. I could not be happier with the outcome. I truly realize how significant the impact of my situation is going to be the rest of my life. People make mistakes but people do change. You were a great supporter, open, candid and very honest. I felt like you really cared about the outcome of my case. I will gladly pass your name along to anyone I know who is seeking legal assistance for a DUI.

- J.W. - Sterling Heights

Bloomfield Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer Paul J. Tafelski’s Personal Approach

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If your child is facing a criminal charge including Making a Terroristic Threat, it is your job to secure competent counsel for him or her as soon as possible. You might not approve of your child’s alleged action, but an adjudication on his or her record can have a permanent, negative impact on your child’s life. In many instances, the juvenile system is reasonable with kids. But there are certain charges and types of conduct where other factors dictate a less than compassionate approach to justice and you do not want to look back on the situation later with regret about trusting “the system”. Contact Michigan Defense Law today to set up your initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who takes a personal approach and can help you be an advocate for your child.