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Stopping someone from calling 911 may not seem serious, but under Texas law it is a crime. Interfering with an emergency phone call is a criminal offense according to Texas Penal Code Section 42.062. A person accused of such a crime can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
Frequently, interfering with an emergency request for assistance case stems from family violence. Every situation is different. There are many reasons why a person might stop another from calling 911. However, prosecutors take this Texas law very seriously and are not very sympathetic when it comes to preventing a 911 call. Because they mostly side with the alleged victim, the charge of interference with an emergency call can be hard to beat.
It is important to seek experienced legal representation if you’re charged with interference with an emergency call.
Houston Interference with Emergency Call
Have you or a loved one been charged with interfering with an emergency call? These cases usually rely heavily on the word of an alleged victim. To put such a person’s credibility in doubt you need effective legal representation. Contact James G. Sullivan and Associates today and talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
We represent people from all over the Greater Houston area including Katy, Cypress, Jersey Village, Tomball, Spring, Humble, Pasadena, and many other nearby communities. Each of our attorneys have over 25 years handling domestic violence charges in Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County. Do not let a misunderstanding end in a criminal record. Allow us to fight for you to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Call (281) 546-6428 for a free initial consultation.
Texas Law on Interference with Emergency Request for Assistance
The Texas Penal Code lists two ways for which a person can be charged with interference with an emergency call—
Section 42.062(a) states that an individual commits a crime of interference with an emergency call when her or she knowingly:
Prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency call or to request assistance, including a request for assistance using an electronic communications device, in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.
Section 42.062(b) states an individual can be charged with interference with an emergency call if he or she recklessly:
Recklessly renders unusable an electronic communications device, including a telephone, that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.
Section 42.062(d) defines “emergency’ as a condition or circumstance in which any individual is or is reasonably believed by the individual making a call or requesting assistance to be in fear of imminent assault or fear of damage to property.
Punishment for Interfering with an Emergency Call
Every circumstance is different. There are two sides to every story, especially when it involves dating and family relationships. However, Texas law can be severe to those who interfere with or inhibit an emergency call. If convicted, the penalty is a Class A misdemeanor.
The range of punishment for a Class A misdemeanors can be:
Incarceration for up to one year in county jail; and/or
A fine of up to $4,000.
If the accused has been previously convicted of interference with an emergency call, the accused can be charged with a state jail felony.
Punishment for a state jail felony can possibly result in:
Incarceration for up to two years in a state jail; and/or
A fine of up to $10,000.
Texas 911 & Kari’s Law – The local 911 website explains the circumstances that led to the adoption of the law which went into effect on September 1, 2016. “The law represents the culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall, Texas. Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone. The call never went through because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing “9-1-1.” Now, when using multi-line telephone systems (such as at a motel), callers to 911 no longer have to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code.
Hiring an Attorney for Interfering with an Emergency Call in Harris County, TX
If you or a loved one have been charged with interfering with an emergency call, it is important that you contact a seasoned defense lawyer. Do not despair. Be proactive. Call James G. Sullivan and Associates today to talk to an attorney.
The attorneys at James G. Sullivan and Associates are experienced in defending family violence and related assault charges. We accept clients in Houston in Harris County, Conroe in Montgomery County, and Richmond in Fort Bend County, Texas. Do not put your freedom or clean record in jeopardy by going it alone. These legal issues are complex. Call us today at (281) 546-6428 and let us tell you how we will defend you.