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Swatting: Juvenile Crime with Deadly Consequences

MINNESOTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

With the rise of new ways for teens to share experiences and interact with each other, so, too, came the rise of new ways for teens to get themselves in trouble with the law. Over the past few years, there has been a new juvenile prank popping up from time to time on the internet known as swatting. Like many juvenile crimes, teens who decide to try swatting may not realize the very serious potential ramifications of this prank until it is too late.

WHAT IS SWATTING?

Swatting is a prank on both another person, and more seriously, the police. This act involves calling the police on another person and making serious claims like the person has murdered someone and/or is holding others hostage. As a serious claim, the police will often dispatch SWAT teams to storm the home. Often the individuals who call the police are not even in the same state as they use programs to make 911 phone systems believe they are, and thus think they can somehow not be punished for falsely calling authorities. However, that is definitely not the case.

WHEN SWATTING TURNS DEADLY

Swatting became popular because of the drama of it all. At first, teens found it entertaining to swat a person live streaming so they could see the police storm into their home. However, this crime has always had deadly potential, and it has most famously come to pass in 2017 when a California teen attempted to swat a teen in Kansas after having a feud over a game online. The Kansas teen gave a false address, but the California teen still made the call, stating that the victim had killed his father and held the rest of his family hostage. Police arrived on the scene and shot an innocent person in their home who was not even involved in the dispute.

As police want to respond to such dangerous situations swiftly and with concise action, they may enter the home with guns drawn and ready to fire. Any movement they perceive as a threat could get a reaction from them. It could be a dog barking at them or a person suddenly jolting up from shock, creating a deadly situation.

CONSEQUENCES OF SWATTING

Though your child may not yet be an adult, swatting is taken more seriously by the criminal justice system each day. As such, you teen may find themselves facing some very serious punishments, even on the adult level if they already have a long juvenile record. Charges that can be brought forth from swatting can vary, but the list of potential charges is very long. These charges include:

  • False alarm to authorities
  • Interference with law enforcement
  • Manslaughter
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Conspiracy
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Wire fraud

As often these situations create a multi jurisdictional crime across state lines, often the charges may become federal ones. In these cases, you will want to be extremely proactive in your teen’s defense. Though the federal system has a juvenile crime court, it has been their way to transfer these crimes to a state level whenever possible. However, as they seek to crack down on swatting, this may not be the case. As with adult crime, federal juvenile crimes do not come with punishments that are a mere smack on the hand.

If your teen has been involved in swatting, doxxing, or any number of the more advanced juvenile crimes that have sprung up in the last decade, contact us today. These crimes are of an advanced nature and can come with an advanced punishment as the criminal justice system seeks to make an example of them. Let the Speas Law Firm keep your child from suffering under the weight of these heavy punishments.