Oklahoma knows all too well the devastation that an act of terrorism can bring. On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh turned a moving truck into a massive explosive, blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 lives, including 19 children.
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On September 11, 2001, the nation mourned the largest international terrorist attack on domestic soil as planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania as the passengers of one flight diverted it from its intended target.
On April 15, 2013, two brothers allegedly planted homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing two women and a child and injuring an estimated 264 people. The suspects then killed an MIT police officer and engaged in a firefight that left one suspect dead.
The United States of America and the state of Oklahoma are no strangers to the violence of terrorism.
Oklahoma Anti-Terrorism Act
The Oklahoma Antiterrorism Act defines terrorism and penalizes acts of terror and the making of terroristic threats. The act defines terrorism as follows:
"Terrorism" means an act of violence resulting in damage to property or personal injury perpetrated to coerce a civilian population or government into granting illegal political or economic demands; or conduct intended to incite violence in order to create apprehension of bodily injury or damage to property in order to coerce a civilian population or government into granting illegal political or economic demands. (21 O.S. § 1268.1)
Every act of terrorism is a felony punishable by a maximum of life in prison. If the terrorist act results in the loss of human life, the terrorist is guilty of first degree murder. If the person effected the crime through biochemical terrorism, he is additionally responsible for reimbursing the cost of emergency personnel, equipment, supplies, and other expenses of the responding state agencies.
Conspiracy to commit terrorism, even if the attempt is thwarted, is also a felony punishable by life in prison.
Terrorist Threat or Hoax
Oklahoma takes acts of terrorism so seriously that even making a terroristic threat or a terrorist hoax is a felony. A terrorist hoax is no mere prank; it is an egregious offense punishable by 10 years in prison and restitution for the resources deployed to respond to the false threat.
The most common terroristic threats include bomb threats, placing suspicious packages in or near a building, or threatening to commit an act of school violence or workplace violence. While a disgruntled employee or an angry student may be tempted to vent his or her anger by making threats, lashing out, or composing fantasy hit lists, it is important to realize that these revenge fantasies, once expressed, can lead to serious felony charges that can impact the rest of one's life.
"But I really wasn't going to do it," is not typically a good defense. After all, the charge is not whether or not you actually intended to harm someone, but that you threatened harm or perpetrated a hoax that put others in fear for their safety.
The authorities have a number of tools in their arsenal to combat these types of threats. In one case the FBI used a cell phone spy app to hack into the phone of a terrorist to see what might have led him to commit the crime.
Oklahoma City's Best Criminal Defense Team
There are defense strategies available to anyone accused of committing an act of terror, making a terrorist threat, or conducting a terrorist hoax. To find out how to preserve your constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, contact an Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer with the skill, knowledge, and resources to expertly handle your case. At Phillips & Associates we have successfully tried hundreds of cases from drug possession and violent crimes to sexual assault. Call (405) 418-8888 for more information or to schedule a free, confidential case review.
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