Threatening Harm – A Crime Under Virginia Law
Virginia law criminalizes threats to kill or commit a bodily injury as a class 6 felony offense, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If the threat instead appears to intimidate or harass, then the threat is a class 1 misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
Below is an outline of various Virginia laws criminalizing threats.
§ 18.2-60. Threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property; penalty.A. 1. Any person who knowingly communicates, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, a threat to kill or do bodily injury to a person, regarding that person or any member of his family, and the threat places such person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury to himself or his family member, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, any person who violates this subsection with the intent to commit an act of terrorism as defined in § 18.2-46.4 is guilty of a Class 5 felony.2. Any person who communicates a threat, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, to kill or do bodily harm, (i) on the grounds or premises of any elementary, middle or secondary school property, (ii) at any elementary, middle or secondary school-sponsored event or (iii) on a school bus to any person or persons, regardless of whether the person who is the object of the threat actually receives the threat, and the threat would place the person who is the object of the threat in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily harm, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
B. Any person who orally makes a threat to any employee of any elementary, middle or secondary school, while on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, to kill or to do bodily injury to such person, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A prosecution pursuant to this section may be either in the county, city or town in which the communication was made or received.
§ 18.2-427. Use of profane, threatening, or indecent language over public airways or by other methods.Any person who uses obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or makes any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threatens any illegal or immoral act with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, over any telephone or citizens band radio, in this Commonwealth, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”Over any telephone” includes, for purposes of this section, any electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message that is received or transmitted by cellular telephone or other wireless telecommunications device.
§ 18.2-83. Threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation; false information as to danger to such buildings, etc.; punishment; venue.A. Any person (a) who makes and communicates to another by any means any threat to bomb, burn, destroy or in any manner damage any place of assembly, building or other structure, or any means of transportation, or (b) who communicates to another, by any means, information, knowing the same to be false, as to the existence of any peril of bombing, burning, destruction or damage to any such place of assembly, building or other structure, or any means of transportation, shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony; provided, however, that if such person be under fifteen years of age, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.B. A violation of this section may be prosecuted either in the jurisdiction from which the communication was made or in the jurisdiction where the communication was received.
§ 18.2-49. Threatening, attempting or assisting in such abduction.Any person who (1) threatens, or attempts, to abduct any other person with intent to extort money, or pecuniary benefit, or (2) assists or aids in the abduction of, or threatens to abduct, any person with the intent to defile such person, or (3) assists or aids in the abduction of, or threatens to abduct, any female under sixteen years of age for the purpose of concubinage or prostitution, shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.