Misuse Of 911 Can Land You In Jail
911 exists so that people can report emergency situations that require medical, fire, and/or law enforcement personnel to immediately report to the scene. When people use 911 for non-emergency purposes, they can waste time and resources of the government and potentially take emergency personnel from people who are truly in trouble. For this reason and more, lawmakers in Florida passed a law against misusing 911 and that set out criminal penalties for doing so.
A man in Boca Raton recently found out how serious law enforcement officers can be regarding misuse of 911. According to reports, the man called 911 numerous times to tell authorities that his sister was outside his house and yelling at him. Police said he later called again to inform 911 that his sister was now asleep and was no longer bothering him. He was likely surprised when officers showed up at his house only to place him under arrest for misuse of 911 and hold him in the jail in Palm Beach County for a few hours.
According to Florida law, a person can face the charge of misuse of 911 if they do any of the following:
- Call for a false alarm that may result in emergency dispatch;
- Call to report false information that may result in emergency dispatch;
- Knowingly use 911 for any other reason than obtaining assistance from emergency personnel;
- Knowingly use 911 to avoid paying a charge for any public service.
In the above situations, misuse of 911 can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor, which comes with potential penalties including a fine up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. If a person gets convicted of this offense four times, any subsequent offenses will be charged as a third degree felony. This felony means a potential $5,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to five years. As you can see, this is not a charge that should be taken lightly.
There are many ways of defending against a charge of misusing the 911 service. For example, in the above case, the man may have believed he had a valid reason to call 911 if he believed that his sister meant him harm or was trying to break into his home. An experienced attorney can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your 911 calls and arrest to determine any possible defenses in your case.
Discuss Your Case With A Boca Raton Criminal Defense Attorney As Soon As Possible
Criminal charges can arise in many different ways and you may not even realize what you are doing is against the law. However, the penalties in your case can still be serious and you should always have an experienced criminal defense lawyer assisting with your defense. At the law office of Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, we help people in and around Boca Raton with a wide variety of criminal charges ranging from traffic violations to serious felonies. Please do not delay in calling us for help at 888-646-1315 today.