In Texas, interfering with an emergency telephone call is punishable by law. If anyone is trying to contact the police, for any reason in an emergency situation, such as domestic violence or witnessing a hit and run, it is against to law to prevent them from doing so. This offense is taken very seriously and anyone accused can have life altering punishments from committing this crime.
There are several ways that one could be charged with this offense according to the Texas Penal Code Section 42.062. (a) The individual commits the offense if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency telephone call or to request assistance in an emergency.
(b) The individual recklessly renders unusable a telephone that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency telephone call.
Section (b) is typically charged as as a Class A misdemeanor. However, this charge is bumped up to a more severe charge if the individual has previously been convicted of this type of emergency call interference.
Requirements For This To Be A Punishable Offense
In order for the offense to be truly an interference with an emergency call, it has to be real and not a fake call.
The (attempted) emergency call has to be prevented– either by physically or verbally restraining the one attempting to place the emergency call
The (attempted) emergency call has to be seeking protection or to report the occurrence of a crime. The situation has to be an emergency for the reporting of a crime.
The (attempted) emergency call was interrupted intendedly by the one interfering.
The consequences for this crime can be severe. Possible jail time can be assigned for up to a year. Possible fines can be given up to $4,000.00 and the convicted individual can possibly lose the right to own firearms. Additional penalties will be added if this is not the first offense, and depends on the severity of the case.
The Court has to prove several things before convicting anyone of interfering with a telephone call. The Court has to firstly prove that the individual in question intended to interfere with the call. This is sometimes very hard for them to do. The Court also has to prove that threats, suggesting that physical harm would come to attempted caller, were given to the attempted caller by the individual in question.
The best way to fight an accusation of interfering with an emergency call is to seek legal help from an attorney that has had significant experience in dealing with charges such as these. The Law Office of Gregory R. Terra can help offer legal counsel in the Georgetown, Texas area. Terra Law Firm serves clients in the surrounding areas to Georgetown such as Austin and Round Rock. Contact his office today at 512-635-4368 for a free consultation. If you have any other questions about the legal services and charges handled that the Law Office of Gregory R. Terra offers, the staff can help.