Interfering with an Emergency Call in Texas Is a Crime
We rely upon 9-1-1 calls to help us in emergencies. If someone else interferes in our ability to obtain the emergency aid we need, it can lead to disaster. Many people are unaware of the serious legal consequences that are associated with such interference. Let's take a closer look.
First, it is crucial to define emergency calls in this context. An emergency – for these purposes – refers to any situation in which the caller reasonably believes either of the following:
That he or she is at risk of being assaulted (or reasonably fears being assaulted)
That his or her property is at risk of being destroyed or damaged
This is naturally in addition to those calls that are made after a physical crime that affects actual harm has already taken place. In other words, emergency calls can also be predicated on the fear of being harmed or on a crime that has not yet taken place.
Interference with an Emergency Call
Interference with an emergency call can come in two different forms, including:
When someone knowingly or intentionally interferes with another person's ability to make an emergency call
When someone knowingly or intentionally destroys a phone that someone else needs to make an emergency call
When someone is facing an emergency, making an emergency call likely represents that person's best hope of obtaining the help they need, which is why the law takes the offense of purposely impeding their ability to make such a call very seriously.
Charges and Penalties
In the State of Texas, a charge of interfering with an emergency call can be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to up to a year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. If the defendant has a prior conviction for interference with an emergency call – or a criminal history – he or she can face a felony charge, resulting in fines of up to $10,000 and up to two years behind bars.
A conviction of interfering with an emergency call or any criminal charge – can lead to overarching social consequences that can be even more difficult to overcome than the original fines and penalties, including:
Decreased employment and education opportunities
The loss of professional licensure
Banishment from working in specific fields
Difficulties buying or renting a home or apartment
Difficulties securing a loan
Limitations on gun ownership
Potential child custody limitations
Reach Out to an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Criminal charges are always serious, and regardless of your situation, it is in your best interest to work closely with a dedicated criminal defense attorney like Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas. Mr. Pritchard has vast experience successfully defending the rights of clients like you, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.