Have You Been Charged with Obstructing or Hindering a Person Making Emergency Telephone Calls in Georgia?
Many people are aware that obstructing or hindering police officers or firefighters from doing their job is a crime, but they may not know that preventing someone from calling 911 is also a crime. If you or a loved one has been charged with hindering a person from making emergency telephone calls in Georgia, contact the Law Offices of Lawson and Berry today. We are ready now to assist with your case.
What Constitutes Obstructing or Hindering Persons Making Emergency Telephone Calls in Georgia?
According to O.C.G.A 16-10-24.3, a person is guilty of obstruction of hindering another from making an emergency telephone calls when they verbally or physically obstruct, prevent, or hinder another person with intent to cause or allow physical harm or injury to another person from making or completing a 911 telephone call or a call to any law enforcement agency to request police protection or to report the commission of a crime.
Georgia Case Law
John Wilkes was charged with armed robbery, theft by taking and obstructing an emergency telephone call. Wilkes was staying with a friend, Waneka Jackson, who was pregnant and single. One night, Wilkes demanded that Jackson drive him to Decatur. When she refused, Wilkes began pacing, and Jackson got scared and tried to call 911. Wilkes overheard her giving the address to the operator, and screamed at her with a gun, snatched the phone out of her hand and brandished the weapon. At trial, the Court found that Wilkes satisfied the elements of O.C.G.A. §16-10-24.3 and he was guilty of obstruction of a 911 call.
Penalty for Obstructing or Hindering Persons Making Emergency Telephone Calls in Georgia
A person convicted of obstructing or hindering persons making emergency telephone calls will be guilty of a misdemeanor. In Georgia, misdemeanor charges can carry up to $1,000 in fines or up to one year in jail, or both.
Defenses to Obstructing or Hindering Persons Making Emergency Telephone Calls
They were not trying to call 911: If the person was not trying to call 911 and the suspect prevented the call, then they are not guilty of violating the statute.
Lack of Evidence: If there was no evidence that the suspect verbally or physically prevented the victim from making an emergency call, then no crime has occurred.
What are Not Defenses
No harm was done to the person being hindered: The statute does not require that the accused intend to cause injury or allow harm to the person who is prevented from making the 911 call. No harm has to occur to be prosecuted under the statute. Brown v. State, 288 Ga. 364, (2010).
Because of the potential for severe punishment, it is crucial that you retain one of the premier attorneys at Lawson and Berry. Our Lawyers have over 50 combined years of experience and would be happy to help you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.