Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) No person shall cause the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or alarm, by doing any of the following:
(1) Initiating or circulating a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe, knowing that the report or warning is false.
(2) Threatening to commit any offense of violence.
(3) Committing any offense, with reckless disregard of the likelihood that its commission will cause serious public inconvenience or alarm.
(b) Division (a)(1) of this section does not apply to any person conducting an authorized fire or emergency drill.
(c) (1) Whoever violates this section is guilty of inducing panic.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in division (c)(3), inducing panic is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(3) If a violation of this section results in physical harm to any person, inducing panic is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. If a violation of this section results in economic harm of $1,000 or more, inducing panic is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. If the public place involved in a violation of division (a)(1) is a school or an institution of higher education, inducing panic is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. If a violation of this section pertains to a purported, threatened or actual use of a weapon of mass destruction, inducing panic is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law.
(d) (1) It is not a defense to a charge under this section that pertains to a purported or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction that the offender did not possess or have the ability to use a weapon of mass destruction or that what was represented to be a weapon of mass destruction was not a weapon of mass destruction.
(2) Any act that is a violation of this section and any other section of the Ohio Revised Code or these Codified Ordinances may be prosecuted under this section, the other section, or both sections.
(e) As used in this section:
(1) “Biological agent” has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 2917.33.
(2) “Economic harm” means any of the following:
A. All direct, incidental and consequential pecuniary harm suffered by a victim as a result of the criminal conduct. “Economic harm” as described in this division includes but is not limited to all of the following:
1. All wages, salaries or other compensation lost as a result of the criminal conduct;
2. The cost of all wages, salaries or other compensation paid to employees for time those employees are prevented from working as a result of the criminal conduct;
3. The overhead costs incurred from the time that a business is shut down as a result of the criminal conduct;
4. The loss of value to tangible or intangible property that was damaged as a result of the criminal conduct.
B. All costs incurred by the State or any political subdivision as a result of, or in making any response to, the criminal conduct that constituted the violation of this section or Ohio R.C. 2917.32, or any substantially similar municipal ordinance, including but not limited to all costs so incurred by any law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel of the State or the political subdivision.
(3) “Emergency medical services personnel” has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 2133.21.
(4) "Institution of higher education" means any of the following:
A. A State university or college as defined in Ohio R.C. 3345.12(A)(1), community college, State community college, university branch, or technical college;
B. A private, nonprofit college, university or other post-secondary institution located in this State that possesses a certificate of authorization issued by the Ohio Board of Regents pursuant to Ohio R.C. Chapter 1713;
C. A post-secondary institution with a certificate of registration issued by the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools pursuant to Ohio R.C. Chapter 3332.
(5) “School” means any school operated by a board of education or any school for which the State Board of Education prescribes minimum standards under Ohio R.C. 3301.07, whether or not any instruction, extracurricular activities, or training provided by the school is being conducted at the time a violation of this section is committed.
(6) “Weapon of mass destruction” means any of the following:
A. Any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious physical harm through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or other precursors;
B. Any weapon involving a disease organism or biological agent;
C. Any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life;
D. Any of the following, except to the extent that the item or device in question is expressly excepted from the definition of “destructive device” pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(4) and regulations issued under that section:
1. Any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or similar device;
2. Any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any item or device into any item or device described in division D.1. of this definition and from which an item or device described in that division may be readily assembled.