While there is no specific law prohibiting individuals from making prank phone calls, these calls can constitute harassment in some circumstances. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 42.07, unlawful harassment occurs when individuals take the following actions, among others:
- Making obscene or threatening phone calls
- Calling people and falsely telling them that a person has suffered bodily injury or death
- Making repeated phone calls anonymously or in a manner designed to harass, offend, alarm, or annoy others
- Intentionally failing to hang up the phone or disengage the connection when making a call
- Permitting their phones to be used for the purposes of harassment
Harassment is generally a Class B misdemeanor under Texas law. However, the offense increases to a Class A misdemeanor if certain aggravating factors exist, such as individuals who have a prior harassment conviction. A conviction for a Class B misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. For a Class A misdemeanor, the potential jail time increases to a maximum of one year and the fine to a maximum of $4,000.
Furthermore, it is a specific criminal offense under Texas law to prank call 911 services. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 42.061, individuals break the law when they call 911 and knowingly remain silent or make abusive or harassing comments to the person answering the phone. Individuals also violate this code section when they allow their phones to be used for this purpose. Making silent or abusive calls to 911 service is a Class B misdemeanor under Texas law.
When you are facing any criminal charges in the State of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.