Calling 911 to Report a False Crime Is a Crime
When you are in an emergency, you call 911. Approximately 240 million 911 calls are made in the US every year, according to the National Emergency Number Association. Considering that there are about 330 million people in the US, this is equivalent to 73% of Americans making one 911 call every year. 911 should only be called in an emergency situation that requires immediate assistance from the police and first responders.
The significance of 911 is life-changing: One phone call could save a life.
That being said, it is vital to ensure that you are not calling 911 for reasons other than legitimate emergencies. Otherwise, you are taking an operator’s attention away from a person whose life depends on their help. It is in your best interests to learn about Texas laws governing false 911 calls to best avoid a felony or misdemeanor charge.
TX False Alarm or Report Laws
Under Texas Penal Code Section 42.06 a person can get a Class A misdemeanor charge if they knowingly initiate, communicate or circulate a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, criminal offense or another emergency that they know is false or baseless and that would ordinarily:
- cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies
- place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile, or other mode of conveyance.
If convicted, you may suffer one year in jail and $,4,000 fines. Worse, you may be convicted of a State Jail Felony if the false report is of an emergency involving a public or private institution of higher education or involving a public primary or secondary school, public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service.”
Silent or Abusive 911 Calls
Texas Penal Code Section 42.061 states that a person commits a Class B misdemeanor offense if they make a 911 call, or request a 911 service using an electronic communications device when there is not an emergency and knowingly or intentionally:
- remain silent
- make abusive or harassing statements to a PSAP (public safety answering point) employee.
If convicted, you may suffer 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Rely on Experienced Legal Counsel. Call Us Now!
If you are charged with making a false alarm or report, or silent or abusive call to 911, you must act quickly and equip yourself with a proven San Antonio criminal defense expert. Two of our attorneys at LaHood Norton Law Group, PLLC are Board Certified in Criminal Defense, meaning we obtain the highest qualifications and skills possible.