Interfering with an emergency call in Oklahoma is probably not on the Top 10 list of known crimes. It may not even be in the Top 20, but it can be a serious crime with serious consequences. It is a crime that often occurs during the commission of other crimes such as assault and battery, rape, or a domestic dispute.
Defining The Crime
In Oklahoma, it is a crime to intentionally interfere, disrupt, interrupt, prevent, or impede anyone who is attempting to or is in the process of making or placing an emergency telephone call. Okla. Stat. 21 § 1211.1
Preventing or hindering someone from making an emergency call can include such actions as hanging up, breaking the phone, cutting phone wires, holding or pulling someone away from the phone, or any other action that may interfere with the call. This is a crime of intent.
The law is expressly designed to deter and punish a person who tries to stop or prevent a person from reaching out for help by calling for emergency services.
Interfering with an emergency call is a misdemeanor in Stillwater. This crime is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.
Defenses: Facts Matter
The crime requires the action to be intentional. If the action is accidental, you will have a viable defense to the crime. Most often this crime is committed during another crime and intentionally done to prevent the arrival of law enforcement or medical personnel. But it can occur accidentally or by mistake.
For example, a husband and wife get into an argument in the kitchen over money or the kids. The argument gets heated.
The wife has her cell phone on the counter, and her husband doesn’t realize it. She picks up the phone intending to call 911.
At the same time, her husband, who is in close physical proximity to her, turns away suddenly and in doing so, his arm accidentally knocks the phone out of her hand. He didn’t realize the phone was there, didn’t realize that his wife was making an emergency call, and didn’t intend to stop her from doing so.
While there may or may not be another crime in the domestic dispute, there is a viable defense to the crime of interfering with an emergency call.
An experienced Stillwater criminal defense attorney can help sort out a situation and can help you protect your rights and freedom. Make that call today.
Free Consultation With A Stillwater OK Attorney
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