Fake Threats...Real Consequences

fake threat...real consequences

Making a fake threat of violence is a criminal act that can land you in prison. It doesn't matter if you say it, text it, write it, snap it or post it on social media, students who make threats can face serious consequences. Even if it was meant to be a joke, calling in a fake threat of violence is a state crime in Florida, as well as a federal crime.

Last year the Youth Services Division of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigated approximately 150 threats against our schools, compared to approximately 50 received the year before. Fake threats of violence are a growing problem, and that is why the School District of Lee County is partnering with our local law enforcement agencies to show students and parents the seriousness of a hoax threat in an effort to deter them.

Every violent threat is taken seriously, because police don't know if a threat is real or fake. Each time a threat is made against one of our schools man hours and tax dollars are wasted searching the location, and the school day is disrupted. Fake threats can greatly affect absentee rates, and have a profound impact on a student's future.

Florida State Statutes: False Reporting


A violation of Florida Statutes section 790.163 or 790.164 is a second-degree felony which is punishable with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Adjudication cannot be withheld for this crime which means job hunting will become difficult. When you fill out job applications asking if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you will have to answer yes.

Also, if law enforcement responds to a fake threat that you made, you may also be required to pay restitution to law enforcement for any costs or damages that occurred while responding.

If you made the threat over mail, telephone, or telegraph, it can be considered a federal crime in which case, if convicted, you could face an additional 10 years in prison. In this circumstance you can be convicted by the State of Florida and the U.S. Federal government for the same fake threat because you are committing a crime against two different sovereign governments, state and federal.

Florida State Statutes: Penalties, Fines

Resources and Information

Hoax Threats are Serious Federal Crimes

FBI reminds students making a hoax threat is a serious federal crime.

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School Violence Prevention

Students, staff, and parents all have an important role in promoting school safety.

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Social Media and School Crises

Understand how social media can help prevent and respond to crisis risks.

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Fortify FL

Mobile suspicious activity reporting tool for students and the community

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Media ToolKit

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