Interfering with emergency request for assistance is a criminal offense under Texas law. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 42.062, individuals may not knowingly prevent or interfere with the ability of others to place an emergency call or request emergency assistance from:
- A law enforcement agency
- Medical facility
- Any other agency whose primary purpose is to provide for the safety of individuals
This code section further defines emergency as any circumstances in which individuals are or reasonably believe that they are in fear of imminent assault or that property is in danger of damage or destruction.
This offense often arises in the context of domestic violence, in which one party is trying to call 911 or a law enforcement agency for help. For instance, if individuals take, conceal, or break a cell phone to prevent another party from calling 911, they may commit this offense. Likewise, if a person has called 911 and the other party takes the phone and hangs it up, they could face criminal charges for interfering with emergency request for assistance.
If an alleged victim of domestic violence or another offense claims that individuals interfered with their ability to call for emergency assistance, it likely will be one person’s word against another. As a result, these charges can be challenging to overcome.
Any attempt to interfere with a request or call for emergency services can result in Class A misdemeanor charges. A conviction on a Class A misdemeanor offense can result in up to one year in the county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
A second conviction for interfering with an emergency call can result in state jail felony charges. The potential penalties for a state jail felony include a sentence of incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years, as well as up to $10,000 in fines.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.