C.G.S. § 53a-183b - Interfering With an Emergency Call
The Connecticut legislature recognizes that our citizens rely upon access to 911 emergency phone calls to remain connected and to ensure that police and first responders are never far away. Accordingly, the act of interfering with an emergency call in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-183b is a crime that is treated seriously and can result in a period of incarceration for those convicted. Although this offense most commonly arises in connection with domestic violence disputes, it can occur anytime someone interferes with an emergency call.
The statute encompasses situations where the accused physically restrains the victim from making a 911 call by removing the phone from the victim and also cases where verbal threats or intimidation are used to prevent the victim from calling the police.Elements of the Crime Which Must be Established by the Prosecutor
To establish that the defendant committed the crime of interfering with an emergency call in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-183b, the state has to prove:
1. The defendant intentionally acted verbally or physically;
2. To prevent or hinder another person from making or completing a 911 call or a call to any law enforcement agencyExamples
A woman and her husband are involved in a verbal dispute in their home. As the argument escalates, the man assaults his wife. The woman reaches for her cellphone to call the police. The man grabs the phone from the woman and puts the phone in his pants pocket and attempts to convince the woman not to contact the police. The man could be prosecuted for interfering with an emergency call in violation of C.G.S.§ 53a-183b because he physically prevented his wife from making a call to the police.
A man and his girlfriend are driving in his car. They start to argue. As the argument becomes more intense, the girlfriend asks the man to stop the car and let her out. The man refuses. When the woman takes out her cellphone to call 911, the man grabs the phone and throws it out the window, destroying the phone. The man could be prosecuted for interfering with an emergency call in violation of C.G.S.§ 53a-183b because he physically prevented his girlfriend from making a call to 911 by destroying her phone. Also, the man could be convicted of criminal mischief in the second degree in violation of C.G.S.§ 53a-116 for damaging the phone and also unlawful restraint in the second degree in violation of C.G.S.§ 53a-96.
A man is arguing with his neighbor. His neighbor pulls out his cellphone and says he is going to call 911. The man tells his neighbor if he does not put his phone away; the man is going to punch him in the face. The man could be prosecuted for interfering with an emergency call in violation of C.G.S.§ 53a-183b because although he did not physically prevent his neighbor from contacting the police with his phone, he did verbally hinder his neighbor from making a call to the police by making a threat.Related Offenses
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-188 - Tampering with Private Communications
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-116 - Criminal Mischief In the Second Degree
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-96 - Unlawful Restraint in the Second DegreeDefenses to Connecticut General Statutes C.G.S. § 53a-183b
Interfering with an emergency call is a statute that requires proof of intentional action. Often this is a difficult hurdle for the prosecution to establish at trial. There may be instances where someone accidentally or inadvertently disconnects a phone line; under this statute, the act would not be intentional and not illegal.
In most instances, this offense is charged in connection with another crime, such as assault or another violent act. Usually, this offense arises in domestic violence situations. The offense of interfering with an emergency call is not a domestic violence crime, and accordingly, you can not use the family violence education program to have this allegation dismissed. Instead, if you have no criminal record, you might be eligible for the accelerated rehabilitation program.
Usually, the resolution of an interfering with an emergency call allegation requires a global approach because these charges frequently are brought in conjunction with other criminal allegations. Because every situation is unique, your best approach is to contact an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney to review the specific facts of your case.Penalties
The penalty for a violation of Connecticut General Statutes Section § 53a-183b interfering with an emergency call is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.Criminal Defense for Interfering with an Emergency Call
If you or a loved one has been arrested for interfering with an emergency call, it is essential that you contact a top Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Stamford criminal lawyer Allan F. Friedman has over 30 years of experience defending criminal allegations.
For more information about defending interfering with an emergency call allegations in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-183b, contact Stamford criminal lawyer Allan F. Friedman to arrange your free, no-obligation, initial consultation. Our offices are located at 1100 Summer St #306, Stamford, CT 06905. Mr. Friedman can be reached 24/7 at (203) 357-5555, or you can contact us online for a prompt response.