Are you or someone you know facing an interference with emergency telephone call or interference with 911 charge in Fort Worth or a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas? If so, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf.

Texas Penal Code §42.062 states an individual commits the offense of interference with an emergency telephone call if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency telephone 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.

An individual commits this offense if the individual recklessly renders unusable a telephone that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency telephone 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.

The most common situation where someone is arrested for Interference with Emergency Call is in a domestic violence or assault situation. The Fulgham Law Firm has handled many domestic situations where a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend get upset with each other and start arguing. The arguing turns into a confrontation where one party threatens to call the police on the other party if they do not calm down or do what they are told. This may cause the argument to escalate, and the alleged victim may become upset and decide to call 911 in order to calm down the situation. If the phone is interfered with in the process of making the phone call by the accused, the police will have probable cause to make an arrest for the crime.

For example – a boyfriend and girlfriend get into an argument and the girlfriend decides to call 911. The boyfriend grabs the phone from in the process of her making the call and hangs up on the call. This is a common example of a situation where the boyfriend would be arrested for the crime of interference with 911 call.

Possible Punishment For Interference With Emergency Call

Interference with an emergency telephone call is a Class A misdemeanor under Texas criminal law. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

If the accused has been previously convicted of interference with an Emergency Call, the district attorney’s office will charge them with a State Jail felony offense. Under Texas law, a state jail felony is punishable by a minimum of 180 days in jail and up to 2 years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.

Legal Defenses To Interference With Emergency Call

If you have been arrested for the crime of interference with an emergency call, you must not only hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend you, but you should also become familiar with Texas law and the available legal defenses you can use to win your case.

Failure By The State of Texas To Prove Criminal Intent

In order to be convicted for the crime of interference with emergency call, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted recklessly in damaging or destroying the phone of the alleged victim. What if your actions were negligent, not reckless?

Under Texas criminal law, the prosecutor will be required to prove that you acted with a conscious disregard of the known risk. However, what if your actions were mistaken or accidental? What if the alleged victim approached you and, in your efforts, to de-escalate the situation, you inadvertently knocked the phone out of their hand? In the heat of the moment, it is not uncommon for witnesses to perceive events differently because of their emotions. If a witness or alleged victim recalls that the incident may have been accidental, your criminal defense attorney can use this critical fact to establish there is exculpatory evidence that exists that would result in a possible dismissal of your criminal charges.

Damage To The Phone Was Not Caused By The Accused

What if the police claim you were the cause of the damage to the phone, but you have evidence otherwise? What if the domestic violence encounter resulted in the alleged victim dropping the phone or accidentally damaging the phone? What if another witness present bumped into the alleged victim, causing the damage to the phone?

The law is clear that the prosecutor will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was the cause of the damage to the phone. If you have any evidence to support that you were not the cause of the damage, this is critical information that can be used to possibly get your criminal case dismissed.

An Emergency Did Not Take Place

A critical element of the crime of interference with 911 call is that the State of Texas must prove the element of “emergency” beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Texas criminal law, “emergency” is defined as “a condition or circumstance in which any individual is or is reasonably believed by the individual making a telephone call to be in fear of imminent assault or in which property is or is reasonably believed by the individual making the telephone call to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction.”

What if an “emergency,” as defined by the statute, did not take place? What if there is a lack of evidence establishing fear of imminent assault or damage of alleged victim’s property? It is not uncommon for domestic violence situations to get out of hand emotionally. Sometimes, witnesses can perceive facts unfairly when they are controlled by their emotions. After calming down, clarity can be achieved, and it may be possible to clarify what occurred so that justice is served.

If an alleged victim wishes to make this clarification, an affidavit can be completed and notarized. The best criminal attorneys will use this affidavit to create an opportunity to resolve your case in a favorable manner.

State Failed To Prove Knowledge of Emergency Call

In order to sustain a conviction, the prosecutor will be required to prove that the accused had knowledge that an emergency call was being made by the alleged victim. What if you did grab the phone from your wife or girlfriend but had no idea that an emergency phone call was being placed at the time?

The law specifically states that the prosecutor must prove that you knowingly prevented or interfered with the alleged victim’s ability to place an emergency phone call or request assistance in an emergency situation. Clearly, the law requires a showing that you had knowledge that the alleged victim was placing an emergency call.

If you had other witnesses present, or if the alleged victim is willing to provide clarity, these witnesses can provide a written statement through a notarized statement outlining their opinion from your reaction and the comments and behavior of the alleged victim and others that you did not possess the knowledge that an emergency call was being placed at the time of the incident. This establishes reasonable doubt that creates a problem for the prosecutor during a jury trial where the burden of proof always remain on the State of Texas to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

How Do You Get A Favorable Result For Your Case?

The best criminal attorneys in Texas work tirelessly to establish every defense tactic to establish reasonable doubt regarding the crime. Theses strategies outlined above are just a few of the possible defenses a seasoned criminal lawyer will employ to protect your freedom.

As always, the primary goal in any criminal case is to avoid jail time, avoid a felony or misdemeanor conviction and resolve the case in a manner that allows for an expunction of all records from your criminal record.

In order to achieve this goal, you must act immediately to secure the services of a seasoned team of criminal defense lawyers that will gain access to the evidence and develop a plan of action to secure a dismissal of your inference with emergency call case.

Fort Worth Interference With 911 Call Attorney

An interference with an emergency call conviction in Fort Worth or surrounding city will be on your record for the rest of your life. An employer may be alarmed when a potential employee has been convicted of interference with an emergency call. If you have been arrested and charged with interference with an emergency call in Fort Worth, Arlington, or surrounding cities, you need an aggressive and knowledgeable lawyer on your side. An interference with an emergency call conviction in Fort Worth could carry with it the prospect of jail time.

At Fulgham Law Firm P.C. our goal is to prevent jail time and to achieve a result that makes that helps you clear your record. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have experience as both Tarrant County prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. With over 80 years of combined criminal law experience and over five hundred criminal jury trials in the courts of Tarrant County and other courts in North Texas, you are in good hands with the Fulgham Law Firm.

At Fulgham Law Firm P.C., you will find an experienced attorney well versed in Interference with Emergency call cases, with a practice focused on passionately defending the accused. Contact our Fort Worth office now at 817-886-3078 for a free and confidential consultation.

Call us right now to get help.

(817) 877-3030

We have helped hundreds of people in Texas, and we can help you too. We will set you up with a free conversation with Mr. Fulgham which will help you know what to do next. The Fulgham Law Firm serves Fort Worth and Tarrant county areas.