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False Report of a Bomb Threat or Arson Threat

Florida law has several statutes related to make a bomb threat including:

  • planting a hoax bomb under § 790.165(2), Fla. Stat.; 
  • false report about planting a bomb under § 790.163, Fla. Stat.; 
  • false report of bombing or arson against state-owned property under § 790.164, Fla. Stat.; and
  • possession or discharging a destructive device under § 790.161, Fla. Stat.

Attorney for a False Bomb Threat Report in Tampa, FL

If you were charged with the crime of making a false report concerning [the placing or planting of a bomb, dynamite or other deadly explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction] or [an act of arson or other violence] to property owned by the state or any political, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

Under § 790.164(1), the crime is charged as a second-degree felony which is punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison.

Our attorneys represent both adults and juveniles accused of these serious weapon charges throughout Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, Brooksville in Hernando County, and Lakeland and Bartow in Polk County, FL.

Call for a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, ways to avoid the typical penalties while you fight for an outright dismissal, and important defenses that might apply to your case. 

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


Jury Instructions for Making a False Report of a Bomb or Arson in Florida

The standard jury instruction for the crime of false report concerning [the placing or planting of a bomb. dynamite or other deadly explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction] or [an act of arson or other violence] to property owned by the state or any political subdivision is found at 10.10. The instructions for this offense were adopted in 1981 and was amended in 1985 and 2017.

Under § 790.164(1), Fla. Stat., to prove the crime of False Report Concerning [the Placing or Planting of a Bomb, Dynamite, Other Deadly Explosive or a Weapon of Mass Destruction] [an Act of Arson or Other Violence] to Property Owned by the State [or any Political Subdivision], the prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Florida must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The Defendant made a false report to any person concerning [the placing or planting of a bomb, dynamite, other deadly explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction] [an act of arson or other violence] to property;
  2. The property was owned by the State [or any political subdivision];
  3. The Defendant knew the report was false; and
  4. The report was made with the intent to deceive, mislead or otherwise misinform any person.

Under § 790.164(3), Fla. Stat., the jury is instructed that “proof that a person knowingly made a false report is prima facie evidence of that person’s intent to deceive, mislead, or otherwise misinform any person.”


Definitions for the Crime of Making a False Report of a Bomb Threat or Arson

Florida law does not provide a definition for the term “bomb,” “dynamite,” or “deadly explosive” in the statutes or case law. A definition of “explosive” can be found in § 790.001(5), Fla. Stat.

The following definitions under § 790.166(1)(a), Fla. Stat. apply to the charge of making a false report concerning [the placing or planting of a bomb. dynamite or other deadly explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction] or [an act of arson or other violence] to property owned by the state or any political subdivision.

The term “weapon of mass destruction” is defined to mean any of the following:

  1. Any biological agent, toxin, vector, or delivery system;
  2. Any device or object that is designed or intended to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human or animal life;
  3. Any device or object involving a biological agent; or
  4. Any device or object that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any human or animal, or severe emotional or mental harm to any human, through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors.

Under § 1.01(8), Fla. Stat., the definition of the term “political subdivision” is counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state.


Lesser Including Offenses for Making a Bomb Threat in Florida

Lesser included offenses in category one include the crime of false report concerning the placing or planting of a bomb, dynamite, other deadly explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction, if charged under 790.163(1). Category two lesser included offenses include the attempt version of the offense under Section 777.04(1) or false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner against a person under 790.163(1).

The comments to the standard jury instructions for the lesser including offense of making a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner against a person under 790.163(1) provide:

Although the crime set forth in § 790.164(1), Fla. Stat., includes language covering a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner against a person, that part of the statute does not pertain to a threat against property owned by the state or a political subdivision. For an allegation involving a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner against a person, the trial judge should refer to Instruction 10.9.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.