Arrest Made in South Florida Three-Part Bomb Threat

October 5, 2023 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

Making a false report is never a good idea and pretending that a fake emergency will occur can cause unnecessary chaos. If law enforcement responds to the false report, it can result in resources being wasted that could be used for more serious issues. On top of that, the person who communicates the fake report can end up being arrested and charged with a crime.

We’ve seen this happen before where teens think it’s funny to prank law others or want to get attention via social media. Even if that is the case, you are still violating Florida law and can face criminal prosecution. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different laws on threats—false or not—and the penalties you may face if a conviction is secured.

A recent case in Florida involved three false bomb threats, plus additional threats made online. We will provide the case details along with information pertaining to each type of charge.

Case Details

Officers with the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman who allegedly called in a three-part bomb threat in South Florida.

The local report stated that Ashley Nicole Bernard, 34, called in to the Broward County Regional Communications Center and made the following threats to the dispatcher:

“There’s gonna be three bombs. There[‘s] going to be a bomb at the Broward County Courthouse. That is going to be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

There is going to be [a] bomb on Exit 21, Hollywood Boulevard, the police station right across from Target.

The last bomb will be at the Joe DiMaggio Memorial [sic] Hospital.”

The dispatcher reported the call, resulting in Broward deputies going to Bernard’s home to investigate the bomb threats. As they were questioning her about the first two threats, Bernard “blurted out” that police had forgotten to mention that they were also there to investigate the threat against the Children’s Hospital.

The investigating deputies also found written threats posted on Bernard’s Instagram account. Authorities state she posted the following to her social media account:

“There’s too many hospitals and police stations to shoot up so Hollywood PD and the Broward Sheriff’s Office will be shot up first. I’ll find their families and wipe the off the face of the Earth not the children though.”

Law enforcement arrested Bernard and transferred her to the North Broward Bureau Jail, where she is facing three charges of making a false bomb threat and one count of written threats to kill.

False Reporting of a Bomb

If you report a threat from a bomb or other explosive device when you know it is not true, you can face criminal prosecution.

Florida Statute Section 790.163 explains that it is unlawful for any person to make a false report with the intent to deceive, mislead, or otherwise misinform any person, concerning the placing or planting of a bomb, dynamite, or other form of deadly explosive or weapon of mass destruction. It is also considered a false report if you claim a person is going to use a firearm in a violent manner against another person.

A person charged with the false report of a bomb faces a second-degree felony. A conviction for a second-degree felony carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Important: The statute provides that a person accused of knowingly making a false report of a bomb is prima facie evidence that the accused person intended to deceive, mislead, or otherwise misinform any person.

Written Threats to Kill

Another form of threat that can result in criminal prosecution is the written threat to kill another person.

Florida Statute Section 836.10 explains that it is unlawful for any person to send, post, or otherwise transmit a writing or other record that can be viewed by another person when such message contains a written threat to cause bodily harm to another person, kill another person, conduct a mass shooting, or conduct an act of terrorism.

Common places where written threats are commonly seen/reported:

  • Handwritten letter
  • Text message
  • Email
  • Social media post/message

A person charged with writing an electronic threat also faces a second-degree felony.

Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal prosecution for any offense should be taken seriously. Depending on the specific circumstances of the alleged offense, you could be facing penalties such as expensive fines and imprisonment. The best way to protect yourself and your future is by hiring an experienced defense attorney to represent your case.

At Pumphrey Law, our defense attorneys will take the time to review your case details during a free consultation. If you choose to hire us to defend you, we will provide you with knowledge and guidance while ensuring your rights are protected. Contact our office today at (850) 681-7777 or leave us an online message.

Written by Karissa Key

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