Noah Moorhead, an 18-year-old boy in Walton County, has been accused of making serious threats toward a student at a local high school. This resulted in a low-level lockdown of the high school.
According to reports, the investigation revealed that Moorhead was threatening his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend through social media, and the lockdown of the school was unnecessary.
Even though the threats were not made at the school or towards the school, the threats were still allegedly aimed at a person and were taken very seriously, therefore Moorhead has been arrested for terroristic threats and disruption of a school.
The school administration reported that they take every report very seriously which was the reason for the initial lockdown. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the offense of terroristic threats in our state in today's post.
Terroristic Threats in Georgia
Terroristic Threats in Georgiais defined by the Georgia Code in the following statute:
A person commits the offense of a terroristic threat when he or she threatens to:
- Commit any crime of violence;
- Release any hazardous substance; or
- Burn or damage property.
The terroristic threat shall be made:
- With the purpose of terrorizing another;
- With the purpose of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation;
- With the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience; or
- In reckless disregard of the risk of causing the terror, evacuation, or inconvenience. O.C.G.A. §16-11-37.
There are various ways that the criminal offense of terroristic threats can be classified and sentenced.
First, terroristic threats can be classified as a misdemeanor. The penalty can include up to 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Next, terroristic threats can be classified as a felony if the threat suggested the death of the threatened victim. The penalty at the this point can include up to 5 years in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. Finally, terroristic threats can be classified as a felony but with more serious sentencing if the threat is made with the intent to retaliate against anyone attending a judicial or administrative proceeding as a witness, attorney, judge, clerk of court, deputy clerk of court, court reporter, community supervision officer, probation officer, or other party or producing any record, document, or another object in a judicial or official proceeding; or to a law enforcement officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, prosecuting attorney, or judge any information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense. The penalty then can include up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.