"To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison."
- Isaiah 42

What is ‘swatting’, and when is it a federal crime?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Federal Criminal Defense

Swatting is a dangerous prank that’s far from harmless mischief. This act involves making a hoax call to emergency services to dispatch a SWAT team or heavy police response to a targeted location, often someone’s residence or a public place. The caller might report critical incidents like a bomb threat, active shooter, or hostage situation, aiming to provoke a severe law enforcement response against an unsuspecting victim.

Understanding the severity of swatting

This deceptive practice not only endangers lives but also diverts critical emergency resources. Swatters are typically individuals with a high degree of technical knowledge, enabling them to mask their identity and make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s location or nearby.

Such an act is not taken lightly by the law. Under federal statutes, swatting can be prosecuted as a felony, with penalties ranging from a hefty fine to years behind bars. If the swatting leads to serious injury or death, the punishment can escalate up to 20 years in prison or even a life sentence.

Accused of swatting attacks in New York and elsewhere

A recent case highlights the gravity of swatting and its consequences. This case involved suspects living in various states who allegedly targeted several facilities and private homes in New York State and elsewhere, according to authorities. The defendants, who allegedly planned their swatting activities in an online group, is facing serious federal charges, including conspiracy, cyberstalking, and making interstate threats in connection with a series a false threats of mass shootings, arson and bombings. The interstate nature of the crimes likely explains why the defendants are charged in federal court. They face a maximum of 10 years in prison for each charge if convicted.

Seeking legal assistance

For those in New York City who find themselves accused of being involved in a swatting incident, understanding your rights is crucial, and securing a knowledgeable defense attorney is essential. A skilled lawyer can provide guidance, represent your interests, and work towards the best possible outcome in your case. If you’re facing such charges, don’t hesitate to seek out legal counsel to discuss your situation and explore your options.